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Perham students band together for classmate's recovery

Zach Gabbard may have been cheered on before on the basketball court, but as he remains in critical condition after collapsing at a basketball game last night, students and staff in Perham are hoping their cheers, thoughts and prayers will help save his life.

Gabbard's teammates spent last night making T-shirts to "help keep the faith," as they waited for updates on his condition.

Today, students remain anxious yet are banning together with prayers and thoughts that their classmate will make a full recovery.

"It's been a very hard day at Perham schools," Perham-Dent Superintendent Tamara Uselman said. "But if thoughts and prayers could cure someone, Zach would walk out of here today."

Uselman said the school counselor is available to talk with students and there is a room for students to talk with each other if needed.

Students remain anxious for any news of Zach's condition. Uselman said the students and staff are leaning on each other for comfort while so many questions remain left unanswered.

"It's something you never want to happen but if it must you'd want these teachers, this AD, this counselor, and these kids... they're so good for one another as well."

Uselman and Athletic Director Fred Sailer met with both the boys and girls basketball teams this morning and decided to cancel evening athletics.

"They said they knew Zach would want them to play, but thought they just weren't able to be there emotionally," Uselman said.

Zach was scheduled to have heart surgery this morning, "to place a device that will allow his heart to rest for a couple of days," according to his CaringBridge website.

His family posted a message this morning.

"We appreciate all of you who have been here with us, called, or sent prayers."