Rich Peverley, forward for the Dallas Stars, collapsed during a game tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Dallas, Texas. The remainder of the game has been postponed by league officials because “of the emotional state of the players on both teams caused by the medical emergency.”
Stars players began frantically banging their sticks and calling for help when Peverley fell to the ground inside the Dallas bench area just 6:23 into the game. He was taken away by paramedics and regained consciousness before being transported to the hospital. Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff said, “First thing Rich asked me when I spoke to him was, ‘How much time left in the period?’ You know, typical athlete.” The forward had played only one shift in the game.
Peverley has a history of health issues due to an irregular heartbeat. He underwent a procedure before the start of the season to correct the problem that was traced to an atrial fibrillation condition. He was only out for three weeks after undergoing treatment and was only expected to miss one or two regular season games. According to Jim Nill, GM of the Dallas Stars, the procedure involved shocking Peverley’s heart to restore the correct rhythm. The problem was detected by training staff after looking at the Star’s EKG taken during his physical.
Last week, Peverley said he “felt strange” after the Dallas Stars hosted the Buffalo Sabres in a game played at American Airlines Center, but he did not suffer from any symptoms like the collapse last night. He missed the subsequent game on March 4th against the Blue Jackets and then returned two days later to play against the Vancouver Canucks. Peverley had been monitoring his condition all year, but he has only had a few issues. “It’s something he has to deal with,” Ruff told the Dallas News. Daren Millard of Rogers Sportsnet tweeted this out after Peverley was taken care of by paramedics on the scene:
Good news. Lindy Ruff comes out of the hall way and says Rich Peverley is going to be ok
— Daren Millard (@darenmillard) March 11, 2014
Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is the most common heart rhythm disorder, also referred to as cardiac arrhythmia. Sometimes there are no symptoms, but fainting, chest pain, heart palpitations and congestive heart failure is common. Episodes linked to the disease can last from minutes to days or may be permanent.
Peverley was acquired by the Stars along with center/winger Tyler Seguin and a prospect from the Boston Bruins. In exchange, Dallas traded winger Loui Eriksson and three prospects of their own. Peverley is considered to be a multifaceted center and was expected to be the franchise player in Dallas, as the Stars, who haven’t made the playoffs in the last five seasons, are looking to get back to their winning ways in the NHL’s Western Conference. The 31-year-old Peverley has 7 goals and 23 assists this season and has played in 62 games. Peverley’s incident last night on the Dallas Star’s bench was eerily similar to a collapse suffered by Jiri Fischer of the Detroit Red Wings during a game in 2005 due to a seizure. Fischer never fully recovered, but the odds that Peverley returns are much better due to the nature of his condition.
By Matt Stinson