Utah State Basketball Player in Critical Condition

After John Berger collapsed at practice, training staff performed CPR and used a defibrillator to get him breathing again


 
 

BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press | | Wednesday, December 5, 2012


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah State basketball player who collapsed at practice and had to be revived is waking up and responding the way "doctors want him to," his brother said Wednesday, although the player remains in critical condition.

"As of right now, things are looking good," John Berger, the brother of Utah State forward Danny Berger, said in a statement he read to reporters at Intermountain Medical Center.

Hospital spokesman Jess Gomez said Danny Berger remained in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.

Berger, 22, collapsed on the court during a practice Tuesday in Logan, said Zach Fisher, a spokesman for Utah State's athletic department. He said the school's athletic training staff performed CPR on Berger and used a defibrillator to get Berger breathing again.

It is unknown what caused Berger to collapse. Fisher said tests and evaluations are ongoing and that the school will release more when information is available.

In his statement, John Berger thanks the university trainer.

"He saved my brother's life and I thank God for him," he said.

Berger was born in Fort Collins, Colo., and went to high school in Medford, Ore. He played basketball at Chemeketa Community College in Oregon before coming to play for Utah State. The junior is a starter at forward and averages 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds a game.

A game scheduled for Wednesday night between Utah State and Brigham Young in Provo was postponed because of Berger's condition, school officials said.

Students at the campus in rural Logan were stunned by the turn of events as they prepared for the big rivalry game with BYU, which will be rescheduled for a later date.

"Everybody is in shock, and in awe of how it can happen to such a good guy," said Karson Kalian of Utah State's HURD student section. "He is one of the hardest-working people on the court. He's got a lot of determination and shows a lot of heart."

Kalian noted that social media sites have lit up with support for Berger, his family and the Aggies basketball team. "It feels more like Danny is our brother and we're one big family," Kalian said.

Kalian said Berger's teammates made the 90-mile trip to visit him Wednesday.

He praised BYU for postponing the game, saying, "Life is more important than basketball."

There's no question fans were looking forward to the rivalry. BYU twitter posts indicated students had been camping out for two days to get the best seats available in the new student section at the Marriott Center.

Last year, Utah State students camped out for three days to do the same at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

After Utah State's football team lost 6-3 to BYU in Provo this fall, Kalian said there was plenty of energy building to avenge that loss on the basketball court.

Now the energy is being spent on Berger, with hopes and prayers that he recovers fully.

Even BYU's basketball team sent its thoughts and prayers to Berger through a Twitter post, as did Saint Mary's team, which beat the Aggies earlier this year.

Kalian said Berger deserves support.

"There's not one person who will say anything bad about Danny Berger. If there was an athlete you could label as the perfect guy, it would be Danny Berger," he said.

___

AP Sports Writer Lynn DeBruin contributed to this report.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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