Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah State athletic trainer reveals how he saved Danny Berger’s life
College basketball » Mike Williams restarted Aggie’s heart with defibrillator.
First Published Dec 08 2012 06:43 pm • Last Updated Dec 12 2012 04:37 pm

Utah State athletic trainer Mike Williams had just seen Danny Berger off in an ambulance. He had to call the team doctor to let him know that Berger had collapsed in practice and his heart had to be restarted with a defibrillator.

Williams was frustrated as the phone continued ringing, no one picking up. Then he looked down at the screen.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"I had dialed 10 random digits," Williams said. "I tried to dial again, but my hand was all shaky. After, the adrenaline got there. … It was good that it happened after."

To that point, the 43-year-old had kept his hands steady in crisis, and that was what likely saved Berger’s life.

Williams and Berger addressed the media on Saturday afternoon, talking about the circumstances of the Utah State basketball player’s collapse on Tuesday and subsequent recovery. And although the weight of the incident has hung over the school and the team, they’re glad Berger is still around.

The junior forward acknowledged he was exhausted from the week’s events, but he was still grinning as he thanked Williams for bringing him back to life.

"I tried to tell the doctor I wanted [Williams] to be my personal defibrillator, but they didn’t go for that," he said "But I owe Mike a lot. I can’t pay him back."

Williams had never performed CPR or used a defibrillator in an actual emergency, but he teaches the procedure to others.

The call came to Williams during practice on Tuesday in Logan, and he ran over to Berger after watching him gasp for air and collapse into teammate Kyisean Reed’s arms. He felt a faint pulse at first, but directed others to get the defibrillator and call an ambulance.

Williams estimated that it took less than two minutes for Berger to get shocked by the defibrillator. Within four, the ambulance had arrived. Williams said the response had gone about as smoothly as anyone could hope for.

story continues below
story continues below

"I sat on the other end of the court, so if only I had been 30 feet closer to him," he said when asked if he could’ve changed anything he had done. "Little things like that, though, you can’t worry about all of them. … Things worked like they were supposed to work."

Berger will be in a sling for the next three weeks as he heals from surgery to insert a defibrillator into his chest. After that, he’ll be working with team doctors and his heart doctors to determine if he can continue to play college basketball.

Before the incident, Berger had started every game for the Aggies this season.

Still, his family is simply grateful that he is alive. Brian Berger, Danny’s father, said he had much graver concerns when he first got word of his son’s collapse in the Nevada desert, hundreds of miles from the hospital.

"I want to thank the Nevada state police, who let me get away with driving 110 miles per hour for six hours," Brian Berger said. "But this experience for our family really could not have been better. If one leak in that chain was weak, it would’ve been different."


Twitter: @kylegoon

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.