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Gabbard given medical clearance to play in games

Perham athletic director Fred Sailer said Friday evening basketball player Zach Gabbard has received medical clearance and can begin playing next week.

Gabbard, a senior, was cleared more than a week ago to return to practice. Gabbard collapsed due to cardiac arrest in January during a game at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. Prior to his collapse, Gabbard was the team's starting shooting guard, averaging 12 points per game. He was the team's leading scorer.

"I spoke with Zach's father, Steve, here at a game we had at school," Sailer said around at around 8 p.m. Friday. "The paperwork should be coming in sometime next week, and once we get it, he should be good to go."

Sailer said Gabbard and his parents traveled to California to get a second opinion about returning this season.

So far Perham's state title defense is getting off to a strong start with a 3-0 record.

The Yellowjackets play today at 2:45 p.m. against St. Thomas Academy in the Breakdown Classic Tournament.

Perham's next game would be next Friday versus Pelican Rapids.

Sailer said Gabbard would only play if Yellowjackets coach Dave Cresap felt he was ready and had earned the playing time.

"We're not going to run him out there for show," Sailer said. "That wouldn't be fair to him or the other kids. He would have to earn that to get back to the varsity level. It is a matter of fairness, and I don't think he'd want it any other way."