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Utah State basketball player Danny Berger was running drills at practice just like normal when he collapsed on the court. If the school, or team, had been less prepared, Berger may not have survived. But due to the quick action and thinking of assistant athletic trainer Mike Williams – who ordered 911 be called, performed CPR and then shocked Berger back to life with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) – Berger may be able to play basketball again. Berger may not have known it, but his life was saved seven years before he collapsed due to SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) at practice on the 5th of December.

The Hoops for Heart Health Foundation was started in 2005 by NBA veteran Ryan Gomes with one simple purpose: preventing deaths due to SCA. By providing defibrillators and training for use of the device in recreation centers and schools across the country Gomes furthers his foundation’s mission saving hundreds of students’ lives.

The foundation has provided more than 80 defibrillators, each one coming at a cost of about $5,000. The money comes from donations and charity events, such as a golf tournament, with big names contributing to the cause as well, such as members of the Los Angeles Clippers lending their time in a public service announcement.

It was with tragedy that Gomes was motivated to start this foundation. His good friend Stanley Myers died from SCA while running on a track. There was no defibrillator to be found. His foundation has made great strides in helping schools preventing deaths due to SCA.

The foundation still has work to do, but this is solid evidence that the work it is doing saves lives. The unpredictability of SCA is scary, but Berger and his trainer Williams show that being prepared is the most important aspect of saving someone’s life.

In Good Heart Health,

Eric Schroeder

3 Comments

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