It's hard to compare a life-threatening situation and a basketball game. —BYU head coach Dave Rose
PROVO — Being intimately familiar with serious health issues, BYU coach Dave Rose can empathize on some levels with the Utah State basketball team, which saw junior forward Danny Berger collapse and stop breathing during practice Tuesday.
Berger, 22, was transported from Logan to the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, where he remains in stable but critical condition.
The Cougars and Aggies were scheduled to renew their rivalry Wednesday night at the Marriott Center, but the schools decided Wednesday morning to postpone the contest.
"It's hard to compare a life-threatening situation," Rose explained Wednesday afternoon at the Marriott Center, "and a basketball game."
Rose said he and Utah State coach Stew Morrill will begin talking about rescheduling the game when Berger's condition improves.
"A lot of what we're hearing is that he seems to be doing better," Rose said. "I don't know exactly what that means. Hopefully, that's the case and he continues to improve. We'll talk about rescheduling the game at that point."
Both teams have open dates next week, which coincides with final exams. But, Rose said, "It's a very, very stressful time for our team. I would probably believe that that's not an option for us."
Rose, who battled pancreatic cancer a few years ago, said his No. 1 concern is for Berger and his family.
"The most important thing here isn't our Utah State game that was supposed to be (Wednesday), or the Utah game on Saturday," said Rose. "The most important thing here is Danny's health and his family's welfare and well-being. I've gone through something similar to this. It affects a lot of people. So many people I know are entrenched in deep thought and prayer to try to help him and his family. That's my biggest concern."
Rose learned of Berger's condition near the end of Tuesday's practice when he received a text message from BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe, who was in New York City attending Ty Detmer's induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Holmoe had just spoken to USU AD Scott Barnes.
"They were very, very concerned, not just about (Berger's) health, but his life at that time," Rose recalled. "My comment to Tom was, 'Let's hope that Danny gets better, that he survives and gets through this and that we'll worry about the game another time.'"
Rose said that Tuesday night, Barnes requested that the schools wait until morning to make any announcement about the status of the scheduled game.
"Because of that request, we didn't make any statement (Tuesday) night because there was still a possibility that the game would be played," Rose said. "After we spoke this morning, Stew felt like it was in the best interest of his group that we postpone the game until a later date."
Once that was decided, Rose informed his players via text message. The Cougars, who did not practice Wednesday, host Utah Saturday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv).
While Rose said he has never met Berger, a junior-college transfer from Medford, Ore., BYU assistant coaches Terry Nashif and Tim LaComb did. "We talked this morning about some of the interaction that coach Nashif and coach LaComb had had with Danny before his mission," Rose said.
"Personally, I spent a lot of the day thinking about that family and hoping that everything turns out all right," he added.
Rose said he has never dealt with a situation with a player like the Aggies have this week.
"I don't think I've ever had a player that's gone down, stopped breathing, been resuscitated right in front of the whole team. I can't imagine the feelings that the coaching staff has, the players have, that the trainers have as they watched that unfold. 'Scary' is probably an understatement. They really felt like their trainer acted in a spectacular manner and saved his life. That's an emotional team thing for the players and the coaches. You have all of the unknowns that are involved after he leaves the gym. Even though they got him breathing before he left the gym, that would have a real emotional effect on your team."