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You Knew The Question Would Come- Why Was Rich Peverley Playing?

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

The National Hockey League was patting itself on the back this week after doctors saved Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley’s life when he went into cardiac arrest during a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The NHL made a number of changes to its medical policies after the Detroit Red Wings’ Jiri Fischer suffered a similar heart problem during a game in 2005. The rules require home teams to provide two doctors, a plastic surgeon and a dentist for each game, and every rink must be equipped with a defibrillator.

These policies and the quick response of the medical staff and an unidentified woman who left her seat to begin CPR saved Peverley’s life.

But the information that has come out following the incident raises serious questions about why Peverley was playing Monday night. Doctors discovered a heart problem during a routine physical exam last summer. It was recommended that Peverley undergo surgery in Cleveland, but he opted for a minor procedure that allowed him to return to action early in the regular season.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rich+peverley



This asks some very important questions, but we probably already asked them ourselves. John Fox had a similar situation with the Denver Broncos this past season. And while coaching isn’t playing, the stress levels are probably higher.

The odds were probably in favor of Peverley getting through the season unscathed and than having the surgery this summer. But nothing is a sure thing, which is not a scoop to anyone. You learn as much as you can about conditions and then make an educated guess on what will work. Plus, some of us aren’t too bright or too focused on a goal to do anything else.

Thankfully, the pieces were in place to assist Peverley when he needed it most. Here’s to a long, productive life!

Posted by pcoffey on 03/15/14 at 10:15 AM ET


Thankfully, the pieces were in place to assist Peverley when he needed it most.

This is very true, and is possibly the best thing that came from Fisher’s incident.

I really don’t think the team is to carry much blame in his case (or the player) as it must have been determined that it was “safe enough” for Peverley to continue his career at that point.

I can’t for the life of me remember the player the Wings signed in a past off-season who failed the team physical with a heart problem and it ended his career??? I think he was a former Wing at one time too… Dang I hate when I can’t remember stuff : )
But, I’d be curious to see the difference between that player and Peverley’s conditions and why one could continue to play and the other could not??

Posted by BC two hander on 03/15/14 at 11:34 AM ET

Sal's avatar

That was Greg Johnson. I wondered at the time if his heart condition would have been caught if the Wings hadn’t upped their tested after the Fisher incident. Johnson was also the guy who scored the Pred’s goal during the aborted game when Fisher collapsed.

Posted by Sal from the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains on 03/15/14 at 11:41 AM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

This incident will change the way teams assess a player’s cardiovascular system and when to allow to play with a diagnosed condition or not.

Still can’t figure out if he was in actual cardiac arrest and was defibrillated or was he cardioverted for an extremely fast heart rate. Big difference in Peverly’s status whether he can return or if he is done.

If he was cardioverted, he can have an ablation to fix the cause of the heart rate which can go up in the 250’s at the drop of a hat. Another Wing Kevin Hodson had this procedure done and continued to play.

Posted by cigar_nurse from On LTIR for the Greenville Pylons on 03/15/14 at 12:17 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The answer is simple:

Rich Peverley was playing through informed consent and to prevent him from doing so would have opened up the Stars and the NHL to more liability than they would have been open to had he not been resuscitated.

As cold as it sounds, the responsibility of the NHL and of the Dallas Stars is to do what’s in their best interests and it is to let Rich Peverley take responsibility for the decisions he makes.

I don’t know what the difference between having the minor procedure versus the major surgery would have done to the chances of this having happened, but if it were a strong enough chance to be considered an eventuality, then the Stars and the NHL likely would have taken steps to ensure their own best interests and forced Peverley to have the surgery instead* (since having a guy die playing the game isn’t good for business).

Peverley took the risk. the league had a system in place in case the risk didn’t pay off. Overall it’s unfortunate what happened, but things worked out pretty well, all things considered.

*per the CBA, they could have had the team doctor refuse to sign off on Peverley playing and then prepared to allow an independent physician cast the deciding vote if Peverley’s own doctor disagreed. If an independent doctor would have ruled that Peverley could play taking the risks into his own hands, then there’s absolutely nothing the league or the Stars could have done to have rightfully kept him from playing (and even making him a scratch would have likely gotten them a grievance against them)

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/15/14 at 12:35 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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