LOGAN, Utah — A tired but grateful Danny Berger called it a “miracle” that he was back to watch his Utah State teammates play days after collapsing on the court and being revived by an assistant trainer.
Berger was released from a Salt Lake City area hospital Saturday and back in Logan, flanked by the trainer credited with saving his life and a father who thought the worst upon receiving word of Tuesday’s life-threatening incident while driving in the middle of the Nevada desert.
“I immediately thought Hank Gathers because I’m from there,” Berger’s father, Brian, said about the Loyola Marymount star who collapsed and died at age 23 in 1990 during a West Coast Conference Tournament game because of a heart-muscle disorder.
“I didn’t know what to think.”
He quipped that Nevada state troopers let him get away with driving 110 mph as he made his way through the desert toward Utah, where he was headed for the Aggies’ game Wednesday night against Brigham Young. The game was postponed but has since been rescheduled for Feb. 19.
Brian Berger also was grateful for Mike Williams, who is in his 14th year as an assistant athletic trainer at Utah State.
Williams was across the court Tuesday when Berger collapsed during a routine practice.
The 43-year-old Williams had been on site in 2007 when rodeo rider Tag Elliott nearly died after being hit in the head with a bull horn. He was among those who helped stabilize Elliott. But until Tuesday, Williams had only taught CPR, and never performed it.
If Tuesday’s scene was chaotic, Williams said he didn’t have time to notice. He yelled for the manager to call 911 and get the automatic defibrillator (AED).
“I remember looking down and starting CPR, mouth to mouth, the compressions and then hooking the AED up,” Williams said. “That’s the worst part because it takes 15 seconds to analyze and you’re just sitting there waiting.”