PHILADELPHIA -- When Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench during a game March 10 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-year-old Philadelphia Flyers fan T.J. Ramos understood more than most exactly what was happening.
Ramos, a Philadelphia resident, was walking to baseball practice Sept. 12, 2013, when he collapsed. Doctors later said T.J. went into cardiac arrest because of a genetic condition called CPVT, the same condition that caused Peverley to go through his cardiac episode.
T.J.'s father Carlos said T.J. saw what happened on the news the morning after Peverley collapsed, and after they read stories online, T.J. immediately became concerned.
"He saw it and said, 'Oh my God, he had a cardiac arrest just like I did,'" Carlos said. "I said I don't know the whole story so let's just see what happens. Ever since he's been looking into it. He was a [Boston Bruins] fan and he knew [Peverley] played for Boston. He asked if he was going to be OK, does he need surgery like I needed surgery? Is he going to play hockey again? I feel bad for him. I said I don't know the condition, but we can follow the story."
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Peverley's story is a bit different than T.J.'s. Though Peverley immediately was revived by the Stars medical staff when an automated external defibrillator (AED) was used, Carlos said it took two shocks with the AED to get T.J.'s heart restarted after he had been unconscious for between three and four minutes. After three days on a ventilator, T.J. had a surgical procedure to implant a defibrillator.
"CPVT is a genetic condition," Carlos Ramos said. "But they didn't know if it's my side of the family, my wife's side of the family. He could be the first person. Nine times out of 10 times this happens, they just happen and the kids don't survive it."
An avid hockey player with the Old York Road Raiders squirt team -- he was cleared by his doctor two weeks ago to start skating again -- T.J. saw the Stars pop up on the Flyers schedule and asked his father to get tickets.
Thanks to the public relations staffs from the Flyers and Stars, they did more than just get the family tickets to the game Thursday. T.J., along with his father, mother Micki and 11-year-old brother Aidan, got a tour of Wells Fargo Center, and got to spend time with Stars players, coaches and training staff before the morning skate.
"The Flyers are his favorite team but he said Dallas is his next favorite team," Stars general manager Jim Nill, who spent time with the family Thursday morning, told NHL.com. "He [T.J.] wrote a nice letter we're going to give to Rich."
Carlos said it was thrilling to watch the son he calls "our miracle child," hanging out with the players and posing for pictures with them.
"It was a great morning," he said. "One heck of an experience."
To learn more about T.J.'s story please go to www.facebook.com/tjramosfoundation