In a situation that was gut-wrenching for everyone in attendance at the American Airlines Center, Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench because of a cardiac incident during the first period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Trainers carried Peverley to the locker room without a stretcher before he re-gained consciousness and was transferred to a local hospital, and the game was ultimately postponed to a later date.
And while at this point everyone who responded to the situation did a tremendous job, it is not too early to speak out loud about the fact that Peverley should think long and hard about retiring after this situation.
Since the beginning of the season it has appeared that Peverley has been diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and missed most of training camp before coming back after one regular season game, when it appeared the situation was under control. But after playing against the Buffalo Sabres on March 3, the forward reported feeling strange, and then missed one more game again because of the heartbeat issue before returning to the lineup.
It certainly is not my job to go out and proclaim that one guy or the other doesn’t deserve to play the game that he loves, but this case looks to have gone too far. Over the last few years, cases of athletes suffering from heart issues have seem to been swept under the rug until an athlete suffers a catastrophic injury, with the death of Alexei Cherepanov being the prime example of the absolute worst-case scenario. Obviously there are extenuating circumstances in each issue, but the fact that heart issues must be taken more serious than they currently are does not change.
At some point Peverley (and every other professional athlete) is more than an athlete, but a human being, and consideration must be made to the fact that a long and healthy life after hockey could be derailed by pushing through and playing with an irregular heartbeat. Here’s to hoping the Stars take this into heavy consideration before allowing him on the ice ever again.