Updated at 7:25 a.m.
In a frightening scene in Dallas on Monday night, Stars forward Rich Peverley suffered a “cardiac event” and collapsed on the bench in the first period of the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was reported to be in stable condition Tuesday morning.
As Peverley fell, players banged their sticks to get the referees’ attention and medical personnel swooped in to attend to him. He quickly was carried into a hallway leading to the locker room and was revived.
“I was scared,” Coach Lindy Ruff said afterward (via NHL.com). “My first emotion was we need somebody here real quick. When he dropped, it was red alert, don’t worry about the game, don’t worry about anything else; just turn around and scream for a doctor and that’s all. It was just let’s get him the help he needs, and they came and got him the help. For me, it was something I don’t want to witness again.”
Peverley, who had been treated for an irregular heartbeat before the season and was on medication, was given oxygen and IV fluids as chest compressions and a defibrillator restored his heart’s rhythm on the first attempt, Dr. Gil Salazar, a member of the emergency medicine team at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said.
“What I know so far is he slumped on the bench. He was brought back to the hallway for treatment, where we treated him for a cardiac event, successfully treated with standard therapy. As soon as we treated him, he regained consciousness,” Salazar said (via the Dallas Morning News). “He was alert and awake talking to us after the event and quickly transported to the hospital. At this point, I was able to talk to him in the back of the ambulance, and he was able to tell me where he was and he actually wanted to get back in the game.”
Peverley, who is 31, was taken to UT Southwestern’s St. Paul University Hospital. He missed last Tuesday’s game in Columbus because of a problem with his heartbeat and was adjusting his medication, according to the Morning News. He played Thursday and Saturday and Ruff said Thursday that Peverley and the team were monitoring his condition.
On Monday night, the game was stopped 6 minutes, 23 seconds into the first period with Columbus leading, 1-0. Stars players were in no mood to continue the game and it was postponed. Dallas plays tonight in St. Louis and, once Peverley was stabilized, the team left for Missouri.
“I had a discussion with the players first,” Ruff said Monday night of the decision to postpone the game. “I addressed [them], just saying a prayer for Rich and thanking God that he was okay and told them that the first thing he asked me was how much time left in the first period. That’s a typical athlete, but there’s not one guy in that room that wants to play hockey right now, and I’m not there to persuade them to play. I don’t want to coach a team right now.”