Berryhill’s Witbeck doesn’t let health scares slow him down


One minute, Danny Witbeck was in basketball practice, preparing for the start of his senior hoops season. The next thing he knew, he was waking up surrounded by loved ones and lucky to be alive.

“I got tired in training and just collapsed. I just remember waking up, and everyone was around me. I didn’t know what was going on, “recalls Witbeck, a 2021 graduate of Evart High School who plays baseball for Berryhill Post 165 this summer.

“… I didn’t even know (something was wrong).” They said it was an abnormal accident. It was crazy, “added Witbeck, who was immediately taken by ambulance to a medical center in Grand Rapids.” As I started basketball training, I had no health problems to my knowledge. It just happened. “

It turned out that Witbeck’s heart had stopped beating during basketball practice and had to be restarted via a defibrillator. When he arrived at the hospital, he underwent surgery to have an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) inserted into his chest in case his heart stopped again.

This was not Witbeck’s first worry upon waking up from surgery. He admitted that he was initially more concerned with playing basketball.

“I was a little surprised. I was thinking, ‘Oh, shit, I just missed practice,’ “he noted with a big smile.” I didn’t really know what was going on, so I just followed what was going on. they said.”

When asked if the incident prompted him to continue exercising, Witbeck said it didn’t take long for him to put his worries aside. It was enough to rediscover the pleasure of competition.

“It doesn’t affect me anymore. I don’t think it will happen again, but if it does I know I have this (ICD) to protect me, ”he said. “… At first I was a little worried. But once I started playing I knew I wouldn’t be able to play.

“I was really excited and grateful that I could still play the games that I love and go out and have fun,” he added.

According to Berryhill manager Dan Cronkright, it would be difficult to guess that Witbeck had an underlying health problem.

“I bet half the guys on the team don’t even know what happened to him. He doesn’t talk about it,” Cronkright noted. “He wears a smile on his face, and it’s a permanent smile. He just loves to play ball and he celebrates every day.”

After taking a six-week break from medically prescribed physical activity, Witbeck returned to action in time to play the final basketball games of his senior season and was pleasantly surprised by the experience.

“It went really well. … It was pretty tricky at first, but I wasn’t as in bad shape as I initially thought I would, ”he said with another smile, adding that he had been sidelined for a few weeks, “I actually really liked it, because I got to help with training and stuff like that, so it was really good.

Witbeck was a nice addition for Post 165 not only because of his attitude, but also because of his athleticism and versatility, Cronkright said.

“He played on the field for us, he pitched for us, and he always dives for the balls and plays like nothing has happened. It’s a praise of his attitude. He loves to play baseball,” he said. said Cronkright. “… He’s very, very athletic. He’s a good pitcher, but he’s also a very good athlete. He finished third and played the shortstop for his high school team.

Witbeck said playing for Berryhill this summer “has been a blast”.

“It was so much fun playing for Berryhill.… They invited me to come to practice. I went out and tried my sophomore year, just for them,” he said. “I played for another team that summer, but they said I could play for them if I wanted to this summer, so I did.”

Meanwhile, Witbeck also pledged to continue his baseball career at Northwood University, which, rightly so, is where Berryhill plays all of his home games, including the American Legion Zone 4 tournament. of this weekend.

“It’s really cool. I really love this area,” he said of NU. “… (What sold me to Northwood is) just the campus. It was just right. just like home. All the teachers and coaches are really nice. The coaches are really special. They are really cool. “


Leave A Reply