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Perham's Zach Gabbard is wheeled on the playing court by volunteer coach Craig Dahms on Wednesday before their game against Virginia at the Minnesota Class 2A state boys tournament in Minneapolis. David Samson/The Forum

Zach Gabbard, player who collapsed in high school basketball game, returning home this week

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PERHAM, Minn. - More than four months after he collapsed during a high school basketball game, Zach Gabbard is finally returning home on Friday.

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Gabbard, 17, has been in a transitional rehab unit at Perham Hospital since early April, and his family said Wednesday Gabbard will be allowed to go home this week.

The family reported on Gabbard's CaringBridge website that Gabbard is able to run on a treadmill for short amounts of time and he's practicing his basketball skills again.

Gabbard shot hoops for 20 minutes on Tuesday, and "he still has his great shooting form, is able to spin the basketball on his finger just as he did before, and he rarely missed a shot," his family said.

Gabbard's voice - which has been barely above an audible whisper - is also recovering after his numerous medical procedures, his family said.

His speech therapist told the family his voice could fully return within three to four months, as long as Gabbard sticks to his vocal exercises.

This summer, Gabbard plans to focus on physical therapy and other doctor visits, online schooling and basketball, his family said.

Gabbard has spent the past several months in various medical facilities after he collapsed during the Jan. 20 game, forcing him to undergo emergency open heart surgery.

Gabbard's doctors said in February that they believe a respiratory infection he had in December may have been the cause of his collapse.

Nearly 540,000 people have visited Gabbard's CaringBridge site.

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