Utah St. player who collapsed hopes to play again

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Brunch said this case shows the importance of having the automated external defibrillator, known as AEDs, around at gyms and public areas.

Longtime Utah State assistant athletic trainer Mike Williams used that device within a minute or two after Berger went into cardiac arrest. That quick action has been credited with saving Berger’s life.

Berger said Williams didn’t have the device on top of the water cooler like usual, but team manager Jesse Parker sprinted up a tunnel at the basketball arena and brought it back down to the court quickly. Parker is Berger’s roommate.

“Before he hit even the ground, I was already out of my chair sprinting up the tunnel,” Parker said Friday.

Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill also spoke for the first time Friday, saying his visits with Berger have been emotional.

“I’m an old bird. I don’t know if I’m a tough old bird, but I’m definitely an old bird and things like this are hard. The fact that he’s doing so much better has made it bearable. It’s emotional,” Morrill said.

Morrill discussed those visits as his team prepared to play Saturday against Western Oregon _ the Aggies’ first game since Berger collapsed.

Morrill said his own heart ached seeing Berger three straight days at a Salt Lake City-area hospital.

Morrill said he nearly lost it when Berger was regaining consciousness.

“He thanked me for coming,” Morrill recalled. “That one about got me. Yeah right, like it was a big deal for me to come. He’s just an awfully, awfully good kid.”

Danny 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.

Berger’s family has been with him at the hospital since Tuesday. Evidence of his improvement was visible in a photo a friend tweeted Thursday showing Berger flashing a “thumbs up” sign while surrounded by family members.

Aggies students have organized a campaign to send Berger get-well cards and should be in full force to show their support for the team Saturday night, even if Berger remains hospitalized.

Morrill said getting back to practice has been “therapeutic” for the team and coaches after they witnessed the incident.

“The fact that Danny’s doing better has made it seem like it’s time to go back to the practice floor,” Morrill said.

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