Four months ago, Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley was rushed to the hospital after collapsing on the bench during the first period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in what doctors called a cardiac event. He hasn’t played hockey since.
After undergoing a corrective heart procedure earlier this year, Peverley has been slowly but surely working toward what will hopefully be an NHL comeback.
“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 a Dallas radio show. “Just been ramping it up as time goes on and as I keep achieving new goals.”
Peverley was sidelined prior to the beginning of training camp for the 2013-14 NHL season after undergoing a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat. He missed three weeks but was able to return to the team for the beginning of the season. He played in 62 games, scoring seven goals and adding 23 assists before being sidelined for good after collapsing on the bench. Dallas medical staff was able to resuscitate Peverley after his collapse, and was quickly rushed to a nearby medical facility for additional testing and monitoring. The game between Dallas and Columbus was subsequently cancelled, with a makeup game taking place on April 9, 2014.
“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.”
For now, Peverley has been cleared to exercise, although he is still a long way from playing hockey again. He’s hoping to amp up his workouts in the coming months and see how things go before making a decision on his future in the NHL.
“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.”