A day after collapsing on his team's bench during a game, Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley is resting comfortably in hospital.
In a statement released Tuesday, Stars GM Jim Nill said Peverley is undergoing tests to determine what caused a cardiac incident on Monday night in Dallas.
"Rich has been communicating with his teammates and friends. He is extremely grateful for all of the prayers and support that he’s received from fans and friends alike," Nill said.
Peverley, a 31-year-old from Kingston, Ont., underwent a procedure six months ago to correct an irregular heartbeat, and also missed a game last week with a recurrence of the problem.
Monday's game was stopped 6:23 into the first period, when Dallas players noticed their teammate in distress and jumped over the boards to stop the game.
As medical staff rushed to help Peverley, players and staff on both teams were clearly shaken, and a postponement of the game was announced about 30 minutes later.
NHL emergency standards lauded
From the time Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench to the time he was taken to the hospital, NHL protocols for medical emergencies were followed exactly how they were supposed to, and it might have saved the Dallas Star forward's life.
The league's emergency medical standards were in place at American Airlines Center as they are in every NHL rink.
That includes having at least two team doctors in attendance and at least one within 50 feet (15 metres) of the bench.
Those guidelines were made uniform in the aftermath of a similarly scary 2005 incident when Jiri Fischer of the Detroit Red Wings went into cardiac arrest.
Quick medical care in that case also helped Fischer stay alive.
The Peverley incident is not likely to lead to dramatic changes in the way NHL teams deal with emergency medical situations because they worked so well.
The current guidelines are spelled out in four pages of specific detail, including the availability of triage facilities, physicians, trainers and ambulances.
- The Canadian Press
Dr. Gil Salazar of UT Southwestern Hospitals said on Monday that Peverley was treated "successfully" for a cardiac event at American Airlines Center.
"We provided oxygen for him," Salazar said. "We started an IV. We did chest compressions on him and defibrillated him, provided some electricity to bring a rhythm back to his heart, and that was successful with one attempt, which is very reassuring.
"As soon as we treated him, he regained consciousness. He was able to tell me where he was."
Similar incident in 2005
The scene in Dallas on Monday conjured up memories of the night Detroit Red Wings player Jiri Fischer collapsed during a game at Joe Louis Arena in 2005 against Nashville.
Mathieu Schneider, now the NHLPA’s special assistant to the executive director, played in that game.
“"[Fischer] is a big man and he collapsed right on me,” he said. “That was one of the scariest moments of my career. Thank goodness [Dr.] Tony Colluci was right there at the time. It was shocking, particularly [because] Fisch was just an incredible athlete, in amazing shape."
Schneider said the presence of medical staff at games is invaluable.
"The league has done a great job over the years to make sure every safety net is there and available to the guys. In the two instances, I've known the doctors have literally saved the players' lives. They are tremendous doctors and you can't say enough for having them there. "
NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan was also playing with the Red Wings the night Fischer collapsed, and remarked that “it was eerie how similar they were.”
Shanahan said he understood the decision to halt the game after Peverley was taken to hospital, as was the Fischer game.
"Being involved with it and having gone through it myself, it wasn't just the Detroit Red Wings, it was also the Nashville Predators were shaken up,” he said. “It's a very small hockey community, we all know each other, and there were guys last night on Columbus that are friends with Rich Peverley.
“The blueprint was there, these guys can't play. Whether he's in stable condition or not, all you want to do as a player in that situation is get out of your equipment, get to the hospital and support your teammate."