Community holds fundraiser for teen who collapsed on basketball court
A community came together Tuesday for a fundraiser to benefit a 16-year-old high school athlete who collapsed while playing basketball.
Matawan-Aberdeen High School student Darrell Rogers Jr. suffered cardiac arrest three months ago while on the basketball court.
Rogers Jr. was released Tuesday after three months in the hospital. His friends and family surprised him with a special event at Fireman’s Field in Aberdeen and a charity softball game. His family kept the event a secret.
"For my son to be home with me in my arms and my wife's arms it means everything,” said father Darrell Rogers Sr.
The 16-year-old says that he does not remember collapsing on the court. He was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that makes it hard for the heart to pump blood. It has led to the deaths of Celtics star Reggie Lewis and college basketball star Hank Gathers.
Rogers Jr. had to relearn how to walk and talk following the incident. His life was saved thanks to his two coaches, who knew CPR, and two police officers who responded.
"It was a blessing in disguise just to see someone who was lifeless just a few months ago to be able to stand and walk and talk on his own,” said coach Sean Sheppard.
Rogers Jr. was a sophomore last season. His dad says that Division 1 schools were interested in him as an athlete. But Rogers Sr. says that he is only interested in keeping his son healthy.
"I don't care if he ever played another basketball game again,” he said.
The teen says that he will try out for basketball this upcoming season. He now has a defibrillator attached to his heart.