It was March 10 when Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench during the first period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at American Airlines Center and was rushed to a hospital for treatment of what doctors described as a cardiac event.
Thursday, four months after the incident, Peverley detailed how he is working toward what he hopes will be a return to the ice.
"Everything's been going really well. I've been taking steps along the way here to see how my heart reacts to ongoing steps that I've been taking," Peverley told "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas. "Just been ramping it up as time goes on and as I keep achieving new goals."
Peverley had a corrective procedure on his heart in March and made an appearance June 24 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. The procedure, a cardiac ablation, fixed structural damage in his heart to correct problems with rhythm (arrhythmia).
"They essentially burn out new electrical pathways for your heart. It was to correct the a-fibrillation and the a-flutter that I had," he said. "It was successful and I'm still doing well. I haven't had any heart arrhythmia since then; so far it's been a success."
Doctors have cleared Peverley to exercise again, although he said he has a few more benchmarks to pass before he's deemed ready to handle the rigors of NHL play. He continues to work in Dallas and hopes to reassess his condition in the coming months.
"I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen, but I'm hoping to play and it's got to be under the right circumstances. So we'll wait and see and hopefully I can," Peverley said. "To actually clear me to play is a lot of steps down the road, but they did clear me [to exercise] almost within a couple of weeks of the first surgery that I had. Now it's just slowly taking steps of getting the heart rate higher. My next step will probably be getting off medication that I'm on to control my heartbeat still. Once I'm off of that we'll see what happens in terms of how my heart reacts to no medication and see what happens when it's stressed."
Peverley again lauded the work of the Stars medical staff and the doctors on call at American Airlines Center the night of his cardiac issues, and the staff at St. Paul's University Hospital, where he was treated.
"I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world," he said. "I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances. There is a chapter after hockey if that's the road we go down. But we'll wait and see what happens. I'm just excited to see where it's going to take me next."