John's Journal
Brayden Weber: Becker’s Miracle Man6/7/2020
Remember Brayden Weber? He's the wrestler from Becker High School who collapsed during the state tournament in February and was brought back to life by medical personnel on the mat at Xcel Energy Center.

Brayden received some good news a few days ago when he was cleared to play football, wrestle and do any other sports-related activities. Doctors diagnosed an electrical problem in his heart, which has been repaired.

He told me in a Twitter message, "The surgery went well! They found a circuit that was misfiring in my AV node and was basically just going in circles. They found out it was a form of supraventricular tachycardia called AVNRT. They did an ablation on that nerve bundle to eliminate it. The recovery period is 2 weeks and I'm cleared to go back to sports!! They put a linq monitor in my left pec that will track my heart rate 24/7 for 3 years."

Brayden, who will be a senior in 2020-2021, has become well-versed in medical terminology. And after many tests and visits with specialists, he’s finally received the news he wanted to hear. It’s quite remarkable, considering the hush that fell over Xcel Energy Center when Brayden collapsed and everyone feared the worst.

I sat down with Brayden two weeks after the state wrestling tournament. He was at Maturi Pavilion at the University of Minnesota to watch the Becker girls basketball team play at state. Little did we know on that Wednesday afternoon in March how much the world would soon change due to Covid-19.

Here’s the story that was originally posted March 11...

Brayden Weber: ‘A Good Indication That I Was Dead’

Brayden Weber was right where he wanted to be Wednesday afternoon, in the midst of a large, enthusiastic crowd of Becker High School students missing class while cheering for the Bulldogs in the Class 3A girls basketball state quarterfinals at Maturi Pavilion.

Becker came away with a 63-55 win over Alexandria and will meet Waconia at Williams Arena in Thursday's televised semifinals. It's been a good week in Becker.

But go back 11 days and everyone in Becker feared the worst. Brayden was wrestling in the semifinals of the state tournament at Xcel Energy Center when the unthinkable happened. He collapsed, medical personnel could not find a pulse and performed CPR on the 220-pound junior.

Seeing Brayden having the time of his life Wednesday was an amazing turnaround. He feels fine, he knows he was lucky and he's walking around wearing one heck of a nice smile.

Doctors have diagnosed ventricular tachycardia, a heart rhythm disorder caused by abnormal electrical signals. He's taking medication and genetic tests are in the works as doctors try to narrow down treatment options. Brayden said surgery is a last resort.

"I feel totally normal, like it never really happened," he said after the basketball game. "But, yeah, it did. It definitely happened."

While wrestling Orono senior Danny Striggow, he didn't feel right.

"I was so far gone, I couldn't even stand up right so I just kind of laid there and let him pin me. Then I closed my eyes and that's the last thing I remember.”

He has no memory of shaking hands with Striggow or taking a few steps away from the center of the mat or going down hard. There were no warning signs, no previous indications of any problem. All he knew was that he passed out and then came back to life. It was a Miracle on the Mat.

“I woke up and I thought I heard my alarm clock but it was the AED beeping,” he said (the AED was activated but not used). “I was trying to open my eyes and I couldn't open them. And that's when I was coming to. Then all of a sudden I open my eyes and there’s like 55 people around me.”

For fans in attendance, the best signal came when Brayden raised one arm, giving the thumbs-up sign, as he rode out of the arena on a stretcher.

“I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that I was alive, because I wasn't really moving,” he said. “I was strapped down and I had a towel over my face. They couldn’t see if I was talking or anything like that, so I just gave them a thumbs up.”

The doctor who performed CPR was Mark Berg of M Health Fairview, assisted by athletic trainers Jenna Arnold and Karin Shelstad from the Institute for Athletic Medicine. Doctors and athletic trainers are on hand at all MSHSL state tournaments, for which Brayden is very thankful.

“What if I'm home alone or whatever, somewhere by myself? That goes through your mind,” he said. “Because if it happened at practice, I would have been screwed because we don't have a trainer that's so close; she’s in another building.”

Brayden went back to Becker after a couple days in the hospital. He stayed home from school for a week; when he returned this past Monday there were more hugs than you could count.

He will sit out the spring track and field season but has high hopes to being on the football field for the Bulldogs this fall. He’s a talented linebacker who has Division I college aspirations.

“Honestly, it still hasn't really set in,” he said. “They don’t know if my heart actually stopped; they just couldn’t find a pulse. They said with an irregular rhythm it could just be hard to detect a pulse. But they said I wasn't breathing on my own for five minutes, which is like a good indication that I was dead.”

And here he was, with his buddies, cheering for the Bulldogs. Laughing, smiling, enjoying life.

What a lucky dude.

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea" wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Nickname Challenge To Resume Monday6/5/2020
The MSHSL Nickname Challenge regional semifinals will begin Monday, June 8, with voting continuing through the week. Here are the Sweet 16 matchups...

Pretzel & Cheese Region

1 Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms
vs
Fosston/Duluth East/New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds

East Grand Forks Green Wave
vs
2 Lanesboro Burros

#ThankARef Region

1 Moorhead Spuds
vs
4 Aitkin Gobblers

3 Winona Winhawks
vs
2 Fergus Falls Otters

Pork Chop Region

1 Thief River Falls Prowlers
vs
Anoka Tornadoes

Bemidji/Cloquet Lumberjacks
vs
2 Wrenshall Wrens

#BeTheLightMN Region

1 Wabasso Rabbits
vs
Two Harbors Agates

6 Eastview Lightning
vs
7 Hawley Nuggets

Follow @MSHSLjohn on Twitter to cast your votes.
Sweet 16 Is Set In Nickname Challenge5/30/2020
The second round of voting in the MSHSL Nickname Challenge has been completed and the Sweet 16 is set.

Here are the Sweet 16 matchups in each region...

Pretzel & Cheese Region

1 Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms
vs.
Fosston/Duluth East/New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds

East Grand Forks Green Wave
vs.
2 Lanesboro Burros

#ThankARef Region

1 Moorhead Spuds
vs.
4 Aitkin Gobblers

3 Winona Winhawks
vs.
2 Fergus Falls Otters

Pork Chop Region

1 Thief River Falls Prowlers
vs.
Anoka Tornadoes

Bemidji/Cloquet Lumberjacks
vs.
2 Wrenshall Wrens

#BeTheLightMN Region

1 Wabasso Rabbits
vs.
Two Harbors Agates

6 Eastview Lightning
vs.
7 Hawley Nuggets

Follow @MSHSLjohn on Twitter to see the all matchups, cast your votes and see immediate results.

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea" wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Nickname Challenge: Halfway To The Sweet 165/27/2020
The second rounds of voting in the MSHSL Nickname Challenge are taking place this week. The Pretzel & Cheese Region and #ThankARef Region have completed regional quarterfinal voting, with four teams from each region advancing to the Sweet 16.

Here are results from the Pretzel & Cheese Region:

1 Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms 59.5%
8 Edgerton Flying Dutchmen 40.5%

Fosston/Duluth East/New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds 51.1%
4 Elk River Elks 48.9%

3 Triton Cobras 37.6%
East Grand Forks Green Wave 62.4%

7 St. Paul Johnson Governors 36.9%
2 Lanesboro Burros 63.1%

Here are results from the #ThankARef Region:

1 Moorhead Spuds 71.5%
8 Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks 28.5%

Tri-County/MCC Northern Freeze 28.2%
4 Aitkin Gobblers 71.8%

3 Winona Winhawks 50.6%
Chisholm Bluestreaks 49.4%

Little Falls/Bagley Flyers 24.5%
2 Fergus Falls Otters 75.5%

And here are the remaining Regional Quarterfinal matchups:

Pork Chop Region


1 Thief River Falls Prowlers
8 Brooklyn Center Centaurs

Anoka Tornadoes
4 Minneapolis North/N. St. Paul Polars

Bemidji/Cloquet Lumberjacks
6 Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers

7 McGregor Mercuries
2 Wrenshall Wrens

#BeTheLightMN Region

1 Wabasso Rabbits
Houston Hurricanes

Two Harbors Agates
4 Esko Eskomos

3 Yellow Medicine East Sting
6 Eastview Lightning

7 Hawley Nuggets
2 Grand Meadow Superlarks

Follow me @MSHSLjohn on Twitter to see the all matchups and cast your votes.

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea" wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.

Nickname Challenge Regional Quarterfinals Are Set5/22/2020
The first round of voting has been completed in all four regions of the MSHSL Nickname Challenge. The number of votes cast is absolutely amazing: 42,670.

Here are results from the #BeTheLightMN Region:

1 Wabasso Rabbits 59.9%
Hancock Owls 40.1%

8 Chatfield Gophers 41.1%
Houston Hurricanes 58.9%

5 Blackduck Drakes 38.1%
Two Harbors Agates 61.9%

4 Esko Eskomos 81.1%
Canby/La Crescent-Hokah Lancers 18.9%

3 Yellow Medicine East Sting 54.5%
Montevideo Thunder Hawks 45.5%

6 Eastview Lightning 51.6%
Pipestone Arrows 48.4%

7 Hawley Nuggets 51.6%
Proctor Rails 48.4%

2 Grand Meadow Superlarks 50.9%
Jordan Hubmen 49.1%

And here are the Regional Quarterfinal matchups:

Monday, May 25

Pretzel & Cheese Region


1 Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms
8 Edgerton Flying Dutchmen

Fosston/Duluth East/New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds
4 Elk River Elks

3 Triton Cobras
East Grand Forks Green Wave

7 St. Paul Johnson Governors
2 Lanesboro Burros

Tuesday, May 26

#ThankARef Region


1 Moorhead Spuds
8 Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks

Tri-County/MCC Northern Freeze
4 Aitkin Gobblers

3 Winona Winhawks
Chisholm Bluestreaks

Little Falls/Bagley Flyers
2 Fergus Falls Otters

Wednesday, May 27

Pork Chop Region


1 Thief River Falls Prowlers
8 Brooklyn Center Centaurs

Anoka Tornadoes
4 Minneapolis North/N. St. Paul Polars

Bemidji/Cloquet Lumberjacks
6 Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers

7 McGregor Mercuries
2 Wrenshall Wrens

Thursday, May 28

#BeTheLightMN Region


1 Wabasso Rabbits
Houston Hurricanes

Two Harbors Agates
4 Esko Eskomos

3 Yellow Medicine East Sting
6 Eastview Lightning

7 Hawley Nuggets
2 Grand Meadow Superlarks

Follow me @MSHSLjohn on Twitter to see the all matchups and cast your votes.

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea" wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.