WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 23, 2011, 08:33 AM

Zach Gabbard motivates team with surprise return

St. Paul, Minn. (WDAY Sports) - The Perham boys basketball team was a winner before the game even tipped off tonight in the Twin Cities. Zach Gabbard, who collapsed and nearly died during a game in January, surprised his teammates by showing up at tonight's game against Virginia. This game was over after the starting lineups.

By: JR Havens, WDAY

Before tonight’s game, the kids thought they were going in to check out a video conference of their friend Zach Gabbard. Instead, they saw their friend in person inside the locker room, which motivated them throughout tonight’s game.

JORDAN BRUHN - Perham Jr. Guard: “I just can’t even explain it. We didn’t know if he was going to be able to come. Coach said last night it would be 50-50, so he said for sure we would get a conference call, so we all go in there and we are all waiting. We were like this is gong to be weird and I was like where is the camera and then coach said everyone turn around and there was Zach and it just meant a lot.”

JORDAN CRESAP - Perham Jr. Guard: “It is just unbelievable. Emotions are definitely running high. We just want to go out there and perform for him because he is working hard each and everyday to get better himself and we just thought we would return the favor.”

The team still plans on visiting Zach tomorrow in the hospital, getting to spend more time with him.