DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Stars player Rich Peverley collapsed during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Monday night. The first period had just begun, with less than seven minutes of play completed, when Peverley lost consciousnesses on the bench.
The game was first delayed after the Stars forward was carried out. After about 30 minutes, the game was postponed until a later date which has not been announced. The Blue Jackets were leading the game 1-0 with 13:37 remaining.
“As soon as he came off the ice, he collapsed,” said Stars head coach Lindy Ruff. “I actually stood on the bench and started screaming up into the crowd for a doctor. I was just screaming to let the doctors know we needed somebody asap. I thought the medical staff did an unbelievable job.”
“We train for episodes like this in hopes they never arise,” said Dr. Bill Robertson, head physician for the Stars.
The team released a statement while the game was in delay that said, in part, “Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench. He was tended to by medical personnel immediately and was conscious upon being transferred to a local hospital for further evaluation.”
The NHL released a statement soon afterward which said, “Dallas player Rich Peverley is doing well and is in stable condition. He has has been transported to the hospital. As a result of the emotional state of the players on both teams caused by the medical emergency, the game is being postponed. We apologize for any inconvenience and we thank the fans.”
The situation was extremely frightening for fans in the arena, who were largely unaware of what was happening. They could really just see the players react on the ice with great emotion. “Nobody really knew what was going on,” said fan Blake Moss. “And you think, did something happen outside? Are we in danger?”
“Everyone was on their phone checking Twitter, seeing if they could catch anything,” added fan Ken Westwood. “Not much until they started announcing stuff over the loud speaker.”
According to Stars team officials, Peverley remained conscious while being treated at UT Southwestern’s St. Paul Hospital. The player will reportedly remain hospitalized and have tests run over the next day or so.
A statement from Dr. Gil Salazar was later released. It said, “We treated him for a cardiac event successfully.”
Salazar said that Peverley was aware of where he was when he came to, and even tried to get the coaches to put him back in the game. Ruff said, “First thing Rich asked me when I spoke to him, ‘How much time left in the period?’ You know, typical athlete.”
The 31-year-old player was diagnosed with an abnormal heartbeat during training camp and missed the first game of the NHL season because of a procedure performed to correct that issue. The same issue kept him out of last Tuesday’s game. Peverley returned to play three days later. “We had been monitoring him closely,” added Robertson, “in regards to the treatment he was receiving for a different type of arrhythmia, heart pattern, that he had.”
An outpouring of support came almost immediately from across the sports world, as teams and athletes took to Twitter to share their concern for Peverley’s health.
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