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Published January 19, 2012, 10:34 PM

Gabbard makes return to home court one year after collapse

Perham, MN (WDAY TV) - A somber moment marking the game that will forever replay in the minds of many people; the collapse of Perham's Zach Gabbard. The high school basketball player returned to his home court, ironically, taking on the team he took on that fateful January night.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

A somber moment marking the game that will forever replay in the minds of many people; the collapse of Perham's Zach Gabbard. The high school basketball player returned to his home court, ironically, taking on the team he took on that fateful January night.

It has been nearly one year since Zach Gabbard tragically came into our lives. Tomorrow marks that anniversary. Tonight, the team recognized Gabbard's collapse on the court.

It is a game a year in the making - Perham taking on DGF. For number 3, the night isn't one of nervousness.

Zach Gabbard – Perham Basketball Player:” If it was away, it would have been a totally different story.”

Zach Gabbard is back on home court for the first time since he collapsed, January 20th, 2011. A day he can't recall.

Zach Gabbard: “Not a chance. Don't remember one thing about it.”

Dave Cresap – Perham Basketball Coach: “We're fortunate that he's here. That's, just grateful that he's still around and be able to be a part of this.”

During that game against DGF, Gabbard nearly died. He underwent heart surgery and rehab. Now, nearly a year later, the Perham player continues to condition to gain strength, but feels great.

Zach Gabbard: “Almost 100%, maybe 90 or 80%. It's getting there though.”

Dave Cresap: “I'm judging most of his playing time if he can make a full court pass, handle bumping by players and that's getting better, but he's still got quite a ways to go.”

Tonight, marks a major milestone. Everyone here is honoring Gabbard's remarkable recovery. The support is still strong. Some in the stands donning those Gabbard shirts.

Zach Gabbard: “I don't know why. Maybe because it's DGF. I just love it. It shows they still care.”

While the 18 year old isn't getting much playing time, he's just happy be back at the sport he loves. This, a welcome comeback.

Zach Gabbard: “If I can only play a minute, that's fine by me as long as I'm playing.”

This was Gabbard's 2nd time playing in a game since his collapse. He marked the return to home court, with about two minutes of playing time and two points.

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