DALLAS -- Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley is in stable condition Tuesday at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center after collapsing during a the first period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at American Airlines Center.
Doctors on the scene said Peverley had a heart-related incident.
"Rich Peverley is resting comfortably and being monitored at UT Southwestern St. Paul," general manager Jim Nill said in a statement. "He is currently undergoing testing to discover what triggered the cardiac event last night. The focus of all the testing and monitoring is being dedicated to finding the cause of the event and a long-term solution to rectify the problem. We do not have any more specifics at the moment. 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."
The game was postponed after the incident. A decision about the remainder of the game will be made at a later date. The Stars are currently working with the NHL to determine scheduling arrangements. They play at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.
Nill, who was in Boca Raton, Fla., for the March meetings of the League's general managers, left the meeting and is returning to Dallas, according to a team spokesman.
"We successfully treated him for a cardiac event with standard therapy," Dr. Gil Salazar of UT Southwestern Emergency Medicine said. "We provided oxygen for him. 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 alert and talking to us after the event and quickly got transported to the hospital. I was actually able to talk to him in the back of the ambulance; he was able to tell me where he was and wanted to get back into the game."
Peverley, 31, has a documented history of heart issues. A physical prior to training camp revealed he had an irregular heartbeat.
He underwent a procedure in Cleveland in September and missed all of camp, the preseason and the first regular-season game. He missed a game March 4 in Columbus because of the issue. Stars team doctors have said Peverley's condition has been closely monitored all season.
Peverley collapsed on the bench after he finished a shift 5:50 into the first period.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff immediately called for a doctor, and medical personnel carried Peverley away from the bench area and into a hallway leading to the Dallas locker room.
"I was scared," Ruff said in a press conference after the incident. "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."
When Peverley collapsed, his teammates frantically banged their sticks on the boards to signal for the officials to stop the game, and at 6:23 of the first period, the game was halted.
After a delay of about 15 minutes, each team returned to its locker room.
Ruff said he addressed his players after the incident and none of them were in any condition to play.
"There's nobody in there that wants to play hockey right now, and I think everybody understands that when you've witnessed what they had to witness and that's their teammate," Ruff said. "And that's the right place to be. That's the right emotion to have. They're not doing very good, and I wouldn't expect them to be."
Ruff did speak to Peverley after he was resuscitated. The first thing his veteran center asked him was how much time was left in the first period.
Peverley's wife, Nathalie, was at the game and accompanied him in the ambulance.
The Stars departed for St. Louis as scheduled.
Ruff kept his comments to the press brief, but he did take a moment to commend the medical staff who rushed to Peverley's aid for their immediate attention.
"I was there first-hand, and if it wasn't for our doctors and all the members reacting so quickly and so efficiently, I could be standing here with a different story," Ruff said. "But they did an absolutely fabulous job."
Once a decision is made on the rescheduling of the game, the Stars will contact all ticket holders with options for using their March 10 tickets for a future game. Details on the procedure will be posted on DallasStars.com and via official Stars social media accounts, as well as emailed to all fans who have chosen to receive emails. In the meantime, fans are urged to retain their ticket stubs from the postponed game.
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