After brush with death, Utah State's Danny Berger ready to serve others
Save a life
The AED that saved Berger’s life was at Utah State thanks to former NBA basketball player Ryan Gomes and a charity called Hoops for Heart Health.
When Gomes was a teenager, playing AAU basketball, he watched a teammate die after collapsing during warm-ups. It was later determined that his friend’s death could have been prevented with a defibrillator.
In 2006, Gomes created Hoops for Heart Health with a goal to put AEDs in recreational facilities around the country. On the charity’s website, Gomes states, “If we can save just one life, it makes all our efforts worth it.”
Since his recovery, Berger has joined in the cause to get more AEDs into places where they can save lives. The USU basketball player has also become involved with SADS (Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes) Foundation, where he has met with young people dealing with generic heart rhythm abnormalities, Bunch said.
“I want to do whatever I can to get the word out there because it obviously saved my life,” Berger said. “It may be one in 10,000 people, but that one really matters because that one was me.”
In late February, Berger and Williams were guests of honor in the Utah State Senate and House. Williams received the Heartsaver Hero Award from the American Heart Association and their appearance helped usher a bill through the House that would put forth $300,000 of funding to secure AEDs for state agencies, schools and colleges.
An AED ranges in price from $800 to $2,000 and is easy to use, Williams said. The USU trainer believes Berger’s efforts will eventually save more lives.
“If God had wanted Danny, he would have gone. There is a higher purpose and message,” Williams said. “Somewhere down the line this will save somebody else. Somewhere they will have an AED where they wouldn’t have if this hadn’t happened.”
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