DALLAS – Rich Peverley will not play again this season after collapsing on the bench during a game.
Whether the Dallas Stars forward resumes his career won’t be known until after more extensive work evaluating his irregular heartbeat.
Peverley appeared briefly at a news conference Wednesday, reading nervously from a statement that thanked “the number of people that saved my life” after he went down in the first period of a game against Columbus, stunning players, coaches and fans.
The 31-year-old left the questions to doctors who said his season was over and he would undergo a procedure that he decided to put off when his condition was first discovered during a physical before training camp in September.
Dr. Robert Dimeff said Peverley was given the option of treating atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia, with a minor adjustment and medication or missing several months to undergo a more invasive approach.
“He said, ‘I’m new to the team, it’s a new coach, a new general manager, I only have a two-year contract, they’ve got to know that I can play,”‘ Dimeff said of Peverley, who came to the Stars in an off-season trade from the Boston Bruins. “And so we went back and forth. That was a joint decision, an informed decision on his part.”
Dimeff said Peverley’s heart likely raced out of control and then stopped during the game against Columbus on Monday night, but probably for no more than about 10 seconds before medical personnel got it going again in the tunnel behind the Dallas bench at American Airlines Center. The game was postponed.
The procedure Peverley skipped in September, called an ablation, will likely be performed within days.
When he walked out of the news conference at St. Paul University Hospital, Peverley could be seen wearing a device that a doctor later described as something that monitors his heart rate constantly and can automatically implement corrective measures if the heartbeat gets out of rhythm.
Peverley remains hospitalized, but all heart tests have been normal, Dimeff said.
“The last couple of days have been a lot of anxiety, a lot of unknown,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “It turns out that it’s a great day to walk in here, to see Rich Peverley walking in here.”
Dimeff said the question of whether it’s safe for Peverley to play hockey again wasn’t one they wanted to address yet.
Peverley was sidelined through the first game of the regular season after the condition was diagnosed, then played in 60 straight games before complaining of discomfort that caused him to miss a game at Columbus last week. He played in two more games before his collapse.