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SALT LAKE CITY — Life as they know it changed Tuesday afternoon for the Utah State basketball team. A routine day-before-the-BYU-game practice in the Spectrum changed in a heartbeat when Aggie starter Danny Berger's heart stopped beating.
Standing by himself in between drills, the 22-year-old junior college transfer from Medford, Oregon collapsed. His teammates, coaches, training staff and a few other onlookers quickly turned from stunned to alarmed, terrified, devastated then hopeful.
Shawn Harrison covers the Aggies basketball team for Logan's Herald Journal. "From what I can tell he had to be revived. One person told me ‘he was out, he was gone'…the team was in total shock," he said.
USU emergency personnel rushed in and used a defibrillator to bring him back, jump-starting his heart and restoring his breathing.
He was rushed by ambulance to Logan Regional where some of USU's coaching staff were seen nervously pacing the hallways. A quick evaluation determined Berger needed immediate higher-level care. He was quickly flown south to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, where he spent Tuesday night in stable but critical condition.
His family dropped life as they knew it in Medford, Oregon and made their way to Utah.
Seems anywhere on this campus right now, people are saying 'did you hear about Danny?' What's the latest you've heard?
"You kind of wonder what's going through their minds," said one of Berger's friends on campus in Logan, where his Aggie teammates and coaches stayed. They never really gave serious thought to boarding the bus they were supposed to take to Provo for the annual BYU/Utah State basketball battle Wednesday night.
As the hours passed with little news, Berger's sister Lauren posted hope on his Facebook page. "Things are looking up for Danny as of now. He's at the SLC hospital now. Everyone keep him in your prayers."
Word spread quickly through the Utah State campus. Matt Sonnenberg, an Aggies season ticket holder, said, "Seems anywhere on this campus right now, people are saying ‘did you hear about Danny?' What's the latest you've heard?"
Berger is a starting forward for the Aggies and averages 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
Sources tell KSL Sports that Wednesday's game with BYU will most likely be postponed.
Contributing: Dave Noriega; Shawn Harrison, Herald Journal Sports Editor, Aggies beat writer