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Berger improving after collapse during practice

sports editor

Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 22:12


USU basketball player Danny Berger is stabilized in critical condition in Intermountain Medical Center after he collapsed during practice Tuesday. DELAYNE LOCKE photo

Danny Berger is easy to spot on the USU men’s basketball posters. He’s the only one sporting a full-tooth grin.

Today, no one on the team is smiling.

They're praying. Hoping and huddling together with love and angst.   

Berger, a guard from Medford, Ore., stopped breathing while walking to a water cooler during practice Tuesday and collapsed into senior forward Kyisean Reed’s arms. Mike Williams of the USU Athletic Training staff tended to Berger, performing CPR and reviving him with an automated external defibrillator minutes later.

“When it was placed on him, it detected he had gone into full cardiac arrest,” said USU team physician Trek Lyons. “The AED indicated that it was a rhythm to be shocked, so he received one shock from it and was able to regain a pulse, but had to be shocked again.”

Ambulance personnel shortly arrived on the scene and Berger was flown to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, where he was listed in critical condition.

Lauren Berger, Danny Berger’s sister, posted on her Facebook account Tuesday that her brother is doing better.

"Things are looking up for Danny as of now,” she wrote. “He's at the SLC hospital now. Everyone keep him in your prayers."

John Berger, Danny Berger’s older brother was with him in the Murray hospital.

“Danny collapsed during practice, and we are still unsure of the reason for it,” John Berger said. “As of right now, things are looking good. He’s waking up and responding the way the doctors want him to.”

Lyons said he and the other doctors are unaware of any preexisting heart conditions that may have triggered the cardiac arrest.

“He’s a well-conditioned athlete, but this reminds all of us that there are certain things that are unpredictable,” Lyons said.

Kathleen Steadman, a CPR and AED instructor at USU said defibrillators have more often than not saved the life of someone who has stopped breathing.

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