SALT LAKE CITY — Former North Medford basketball standout Danny Berger was moved out of intensive care and upgraded to fair condition Thursday afternoon at Intermountain Medical Center.
The 22-year-old Utah State junior forward suffered a heart attack Tuesday at the end of the team's practice at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.
Longtime Utah State assistant athletic trainer Mike Williams saved Berger's life after Berger went into cardiac arrest. Williams helped Berger regain a heartbeat with the use of a defibrillator.
Berger's family members posted a picture on Facebook Thursday of Danny Berger giving a thumbs-up sign.
Brian Berger, the father, used Facebook to thank the many people who had his son in their thoughts and prayers.
"Our family is overwhelmed by the love and support for him from all over the country," he wrote. "... It's a tough thing when a young man his age has a heart attack but we are at a great hospital with the best doctors and staff we could ever hope to have."
He noted that his son might need a defibrillator implanted in his chest, and that a doctor treating his son had performed such a procedure on a current NBA player.
Sister Lauren Berger said in an email that her brother has had a number of visitors, among them Ty Corbin, coach of the Utah Jazz.
"It was really special and he is a great guy," she wrote. "And Danny is going to be just fine with a 100-percent recovery. We are so happy!"
John Berger, Danny's brother, had posted on his Facebook page a link to a story by ESPN.com's Andy Katz lauding the manner in which Utah State and Brigham Young handled the crisis. Utah State had a game scheduled at rival Brigham Young on Wednesday, but it was postponed.
Katz called Williams a hero and quoted Aggies coach Stew Morrill as saying the same thing.
"It was the hardest practice situation in my 27 years as a head coach,'' Morrill said. "Our trainer is a hero. He saved Danny's life. This has been tough on our players.''
Utah State athletic director Scott Barnes also commented in the article about the job Williams did.
"Thank God for our trainer and the job he did in following protocol,'' Barnes said. "He not only applied CPR but he knew to use the defibrillator within the first few minutes, and that was key. That was a critical move.''
Brian Berger posted a photo of himself with Williams, saying, "This is USU trainer Mike Williams who saved my son's life." He added, "I don't have the words ..."
Berger, a starter the past two years, helped Utah State to a 4-1 record. The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder has averaged 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. His playing future remains uncertain.
Utah State's home game with Western Oregon is expected to go on as scheduled Saturday.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com