SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah State basketball player who collapsed at practice and had to be revived after he stopped breathing is improving and making good progress, school officials said Wednesday night, although the player remains in critical condition.
Danny Berger is awake and talking to his family in a Salt Lake City area hospital, Utah State basketball team doctor Trek Lyons said at a press conference in Logan. Tubes used to help Berger breathe have been removed.
"He recognizes his family, his doctors and the instructions he is given," Lyons said. "It is a good sign and a sign of improving."
Doctors still don't know what caused the 22-year-old Berger to collapse on the court during a practice Tuesday in Logan.
Berger doesn't have any known pre-existing condition or heart problems, Berger said.
"As a well-conditioned athlete, he goes through a stress test every day," Lyons said. "It just reminds us that some things are still unpredictable."
A team of doctors — including cardiologists, pulmonologists and trauma specialists — is running tests on Berger in the intensive care unit at Intermountain Medical Center in a Salt Lake City suburb, said hospital spokesman Jess Gomez.
Berger is responding the way "doctors want him to," older brother John brother said Wednesday afternoon.
"As of right now, things are looking good," John Berger said in a statement he read to reporters.
John Berger was with his sister, Lauren Berger. They did not take any questions.
Despite the improvements, Berger remains in critical condition, Gomez said.
Longtime Utah State assistant athletic trainer Mike Williams is being credited with saving Berger's life.
The incident happened in the middle of Tuesday's practice when Berger collapsed into the arms of teammate Kyisean Reed as he moved toward the sideline. He was no longer breathing when he hit the court, Lyons said.
Within a minute or two, Williams used a defibrillator on Berger, who was in full cardiac arrest, he said. The shocks helped Berger regain a pulse. He was taken to a hospital in Logan before being flown by helicopter to the regional trauma center in the Salt Lake City area.
Williams, who has been at the university for 14 years, handled the situation perfectly, Lyons said.
"He had a calm, clear mind the entire time. He handled it perfectly," Lyons said. "Danny's condition is in large degree to a man keeping his mind under pressure."
Berger's brother specifically thanked Williams in the family's statement.
"He saved my brother's life and I thank God for him," John Berger said, tearing up as he read the statement.
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.