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Perham's Gabbard continuing recovery, could be transferred to rehab facility soon

Zach Gabbard plays with a basketball on March 2 as part of his physical therapy.

Zach Gabbard is making "significant strides" in his recovery at the University of Minnesota Medical Center at Fairview, hospital officials said today in a release.

The 17-year-old from Perham has been in intensive care since he collapsed during a basketball game on Jan. 20.

"Zach is working hard every day at physical therapy and getting better so he can rejoin his classmates and his teammates in Perham," Zach's family said in the statement. "Zach's desire to play basketball again is motivating him as he undertakes this incredibly difficult training."

Zach's physician, Dr. Ranjit John, said hospital staff is "extremely pleased" with Zach's progress.

"From a medical viewpoint, when Zach first arrived, he was critically ill requiring heart assist devices to keep him alive," John said. "However, during his stay here, he has made significant strides to a point in which his heart has fully recovered."

John said Zach is close to being able to be discharged from the hospital, after which he'd be transferred to a rehab facility.

A fund has been established to defray costs not covered by insurance.

Checks can be made out to "The Zach Gabbard Fund" and mailed to United Community Bank, 155 Second St SW, Perham MN 56573.

The family is also providing updates on Zach's condition through his CaringBridge website at