Utah State player who collapsed getting stronger

Utah State player who collapsed getting stronger

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah State forward Danny Berger ran a mile the other day then did some stairs afterward. Not unusual for an athlete, except that he did it just six weeks after he nearly died after collapsing on the basketball court.

Now, unless Berger takes his shirt off to reveal where a defibrillator has been implanted in his chest, it's hard to differentiate him from most other 22-year-old college athletes.

``I feel good,'' Berger said after watching his Utah State teammates practice late Tuesday during a 13-game winning streak. ``The doctor said everything looks great. I look normal.''

While previously hopeful he would play again this season, he is resigned that won't happen. But he looks forward to an extra year of eligibility. This was to be his junior season; now he'll have two seasons left.

``I just try to think about the long run,'' said Berger, who was revived after going into cardiac arrest on Dec. 4. ``I have another year. I'll be more mature, be stronger and a better teammate and more of a leader. I focus on that, and look at the fact I am extremely fortunate.''

That's not to say it is easy just watching.

He can shoot, ride the stationary bike and run, but he isn't cleared to practice or play.

While his team heads to New Mexico State for Thursday's game that kicks off a short road trip, Berger will be back in Logan, catching up on school work.

``It feels like it's longer (than six weeks), to be honest,'' Berger said. ``It's hard to sit there and watch, but I'm happy for them.''

With a 14-1 record, Utah State is one of a dozen Division 1 teams with only one loss, though the Aggies don't get much attention playing a Western Athletic Conference schedule.

Berger sees a team that is a bit more unified - perhaps since players witnessed his life-threatening incident.

He recently took time to write a heartfelt blog entry, published by the Aggies, in which he updated schoolmates about his health, thanked all those who helped save him or even thought about him, and reiterated how grateful he is to be alive.

``I'm trying to get better one day at a time psychologically, and remember the things I've learned over last the last six weeks,'' Berger said Tuesday.

He cited his relationship with others.

``How I treat people and how I conduct myself is what really matters. A lot of things just don't matter that we get caught up in,'' he said.

Berger still doesn't remember much of what occurred on the court that December afternoon.

He was working on his defense in preparation for an upcoming game against instate rival Brigham Young but suddenly felt dizzy as if he had stood up too fast.

Fast action by longtime assistant trainer Mike Williams, among others, was credited with saving Berger's life.

Four days later, he was out of the hospital and being reunited with his teammates in front of a packed crowd.

The Aggies won that night, their fourth win in a row. Since then they've won nine more - the 13-game winning streak the sixth longest in school history and second longest in the country behind Kansas (14 straight).

Through everything, the small defibrillator implanted in Berger's chest hasn't kicked in once - a good sign.

In a few weeks doctors will be monitoring him when he gets his heart rate up as high as he can.

That will let them set his defibrillator a little higher so it doesn't go off when he is just working out -thus enabling him to work out even harder.

He's also hoping some additional blood work and research will shed more light on his collapse.

``Hopefully, we find something out. We may not find out why it happened,'' he said. ``It's obviously pretty scary because they don't know what caused it. But I decided I can't live my life like that. I've got to look past it, just live . try to be normal.''

In that respect, he's glad the attention has quieted but he doesn't mind talking if it is important to others.

``I said it before,'' Berger said. ``I know it happened for a reason. I'm here for some purpose and need to figure out those things. I have the rest of my life to do that.''

As for that mile, he ran it in 6 minutes, 55 seconds.

``It was a little slower than normal, but better than I was expecting,'' he said.

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Emma Meesseman posts an incredibly efficient game in the Euroleague, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes

Emma Meesseman posts an incredibly efficient game in the Euroleague, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes

Emma Meesseman is a walking bucket. She proved it in the WNBA Finals and is continuing to score in bunches in the EuroLeague. 

Playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg, Meesseman went off again. Shooting an incredible 9-for-11 from the field (82%), she posted 20 points in 21 minutes during their win over ZVVZ USK Praha.

Just take a glimpse of Meesseman's highlights from that game. She got her shot to go from every corner of the court. 

The win moved UMMC Ekaterinburg (10-1) to the top of Pool A of the EuroLeague and Meesseman has been a huge part of it. Throughout the season, she's averaged 15 points, shooting 67% from the field and 64% from 3-point range. 

Meesseman just recently won the WNBA Finals MVP award for the Washington Mystics last season. In the WNBA Finals, she posted nearly 18 points a game coming off the bench to lead the team. 

Other WNBA stars Courtney Vandersloot, Brittney Griner and Jonquel Jones also play with Meesseman on the same team. 


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Davey Martinez on electronic sign stealing: 'This just didn't happen overnight'

Davey Martinez on electronic sign stealing: 'This just didn't happen overnight'

When the Nationals faced the Houston Astros last World Series, they took extra precautions to ensure their opponents couldn’t steal their signs even if they were using illegal means to do it.

Less than two weeks later, news broke that the Astros were being investigated by MLB for using electronic devices to steal signs during the 2017 season—a season in which they went on to win their first World Series in franchise history.

The investigation, which concluded last week and resulted in severe penalties for the Astros and the firings of both manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow, didn’t find any evidence that Houston used such means against Washington.

But that didn’t stop Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart from taking precautions, instructing each of his pitchers to have their own sets of signs and laminating cards for them to keep in their caps. Washington also reportedly used some nontraditional signs that were harder to decipher even with the help of technology.

Speaking with MLB Network Radio’s Chuck Todd, Nationals manager Davey Martinez admitted that he’s fine with sign stealing being a part of the game. It’s once outside devices get involved where he thinks teams begin to cross a line.

The league has “been doing this for years,” Martinez said. “A guy on second base steals signs. They try to relay it to the hitters. They’re looking for an edge. You’re at first base and you’re taking a lead and then you’re picking up the signs of the catcher ’cause you want to steal the base and you’re hoping that you could see a breaking ball—whatever. I get it.

“For me, I blame—if that’s happening—I blame us for not controlling that…the things that are controllable, we should be able to control. The other things that we can’t see—I think that’s the issue.”

The game of stealing signs is as old as the sport itself. While some critics have said it hurts the integrity of the game, the implementation of cameras and electronic devices gives one side a much more significant advantage than the level playing ground that teams have operated on for decades.

“This goes back a while,” Martinez said. “I remember in 2017 [when I was with the Chicago Cubs], we were in the playoffs and got a memo about Fitbit watches and all that stuff and not being able to wear them—”

“So people were worried about this for a while?” Todd asked.

“Yeah. I mean, this just didn’t happen overnight. There are rules and the game has changed. There’s so many different wats now that you can do things. But you’ve gotta understand there are rules and that’s the bottom line.”

The Nationals and Astros will continue to be intertwined, not only as reigning pennant winners but as co-hosts of their Spring Training Facility in West Palm Beach as well. While Martinez wasn’t willing to comment on the findings of the investigation into the Astros, he left a frank assessment for whether Houston should’ve expected such significant penalties.

“MLB has made it known that they were going to intervene if they thought there was any foul play, and they did,” Martinez said.

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