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Gabbard is cleared to play

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 12/11/11, 10:58PM CST


No definite date has been set, but it appears that Perham's Zach Gabbard will be taking the court in the near future.

Zach Gabbard sat in a wheelchair behind the Perham bench during the Class 2A boys' basketball tournament last year, which the Yellowjackets won. Gabbard suffered a cardiac arrest while playing in a game last season, but he recently has been cleared to pla

No definite date for his return has been set, but it appears that Zach Gabbard will be taking the court for Perham's boys' basketball team in the near future.

Gabbard collapsed on the court from sudden cardiac arrest on Jan. 20 last season. He underwent open heart surgery in Fargo, N.D., and missed the rest of the season.

With Gabbard's health concerns providing motivation, the inspired Yellowjackets went on to win the Class 2A state championship.

Now a senior, Gabbard has been making steady progress toward rejoining the team. He overcame the final health obstacle last week when doctors cleared him to play following extensive testing on his heart.

His mother, Meridee Gabbard, broke the news on www.caringbridge.org.

She wrote: "A few days ago, Zach and I flew to Los Angeles to meet with a Cardiologist downtown LA, who did extensive testing on his heart. He found NOTHING wrong with Zach's heart and has cleared him to play MSHSL basketball. We are looking forward to his first game!"

Gabbard is expected to begin practicing with the team this week. His Caring Bridge website can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/zachgabbard.

Mankato West's Nelson named Mr. Football

Mankato West quarterback Philip Nelson added another honor to his growing chest of postseason treasures when he was named the 2011 Mr. Football on Sunday by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association.

Nelson led Mankato West to a berth in the Class 4A state tournament this season, where the Scarlets lost to Bemidji in the semifinals. The future Gophers quarterback passed for 2,784 yards and 35 touchdowns and rushed for 1,253 yards and 20 touchdowns.

He finished his career with 7,561 passing yards and 94 TDs.

He was the AP All-State Player of the Year and the ESPN Minnesota Player of the Year and has been nominated to play in the national Marine Semper Fidelis All American Bowl.

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