Ex-North player Berger collapses

Utah State forward critical but stable after having breathing restored with defibrillator at team practice
Utah State junior Danny Berger, left, is averaging 7.6 points per game this season.Photo courtesy of Ryan Talbot

Former North Medford basketball player Danny Berger, in his second year as a starter for Utah State, collapsed and stopped breathing during practice at the Logan school Tuesday and had to be revived with a defibrillator.

Berger, a junior forward, was taken to Logan Regional Hospital, where tests were performed, then was transported by helicopter to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah.

He was in stable but critical condition Tuesday night, according to a release from the university.

Berger was reportedly standing by himself in the Dee Glenn Smith Spectrum when he lost consciousness and, according to the statement, was tended to on the court by the team training staff. CPR was performed before the defibrillator was used.

Tests and evaluations are ongoing, the release said.

Berger's sister, Lauren, posted on his Facebook page: "Things are looking up for Danny as of now. He's at the (hospital) now. Everyone keep him in your prayers please."

The Aggies were scheduled to play rival Brigham Young tonight in Provo, Utah. The statement said the game's status was uncertain, but the Logan Journal Herald, citing sources, said it would likely be postponed.

Utah State was scheduled to leave for Provo after practice but didn't, said the Herald. Instead, several players posted on Twitter that they were headed to visit Berger.

According to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, redshirt freshman guard Quincy Blair tweeted: "Just talked to Danny's brother (John), sounds like he's doing good."

Brian Berger, Danny's father, was driving to Provo for tonight's game when he learned the news. He said Utah State assistant coach Chris Jones called about halfway through his 10-plus-hour car trip.

When Danny arrived at the hospital emergency room, said Brian Berger, "He was conscious but combative."

Brian was told that's a common reaction to lack of oxygen to the brain.

"They had to sedate him so they could do some tests," said the father. "Once they got him sedated, they did a CT scan. From what I'm hearing from the doctor, his brain is not injured."

There is no history of heart disease in the family, said Brian, and his son has had few incidents of injury or illness. As he sped to Utah with hours to go before arrival, the father thought back to those instances.

He said Danny and Danny's mother, Diane, contracted what was believed to be food poisoning about 11/2 weeks ago while eating at a restaurant. He vomited "for 24 hours," said Brian, then took fluids intravenously before playing 21 minutes in a 65-55 win over Weber State Nov. 24.

As a senior at North Medford, Berger suffered a concussion in a game against South Medford, said his father, and missed playing time. It was his son's only serious injury, he said.

Brian Berger stressed there's no indication Tuesday's incident was related to the others.

"The doctors will hopefully have some answers for me," he said. "We don't have any of this kind of thing in our family. We don't have any heart disease or heart problems at early stages. I'm not sure (what the cause is), I just don't know. I don't want to speculate. We're hoping the doctor is correct, that his brain is OK. If his brain and his heart are OK, I'd feel a lot better."

Brian Berger hadn't been to one of his son's games this year but that was to change. His drive to Utah was to start a six-week stay.

Basketball now takes a back seat, he said.

"I don't know when or if he'll be able to play again," said the father. "We have to figure things out. His health is first."

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Berger has helped the Aggies, under coach Stew Morrill, to a 4-1 record. He's fourth on the team in scoring with 7.6 points per game and is its second-best free-throw shooter at 83 percent. He also averages 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 22.2 minutes per game.

Last season, Berger sat out the first six games, then started 25 of the final 31 games as Utah State went 21-16. It was his first action since serving a two-year mission for his Latter-day Saints church.

Morrill originally considered redshirting Berger — hence the inaction in the first six games — then decided the Aggies needed him. The sophomore averaged 6.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.35 assists while playing 25.8 minutes per game. He was 11th in the Western Athletic Conference in 3-point shooting and 13th in assists.

Berger reached double figures 10 times, including a career-high tying 17 points against Oakland in the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Prior to Utah State, Berger played a year at Chemeketa Community College in Salem.

A 2008 graduate of North Medford, he received honorable mention in all-state voting as a senior after setting school season records of 459 points and 53 3-pointers.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com


Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.
COUPON OF THE WEEK