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by
Rick Moran

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March 11, 2014 - 4:13 pm
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Last night’s NHL game between the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets promised to be an exciting hockey match. Both teams were battling for a playoff spot and, true to form, the game began with a fast pace and hard-hitting action.

About seven minutes into the contest, Dallas sped through center ice in attack mode and changed lines on the fly. To the bench went 31-year-old Rich Peverley, a well-traveled center who won a Stanley Cup playing with the Boston Bruins in 2011.

It’s not clear what happened next, but Peverley apparently keeled over on the bench, and lay still. Immediately, Dallas players hopped over the boards to give the medical staff room to treat him, looks of panic and concern on their faces. As the rink gets quiet, you can hear calls for a paramedic, but by that time the doctors had carried Peverley out of the rink back into the hallway behind the benches.

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There, in the narrow confines of a corridor underneath American Airlines Center, doctors worked frantically to save Peverley’s life. They put him on oxygen and started an IV drip. They gave him “chest compression,” pushing on his heart trying to get the rhythm back to normal. Peverley suffered from a pre-existing heart condition for which he was operated on last summer. He missed the entire preseason and the first game of the year due to the surgery on what one doctor described as a “quivering heart.”

Working through the treatment checklist, they then used the defibrillator to steady his heartbeat. He responded immediately and began to communicate with the doctors. He told one physician, Dr. Gil Salazar, in typical tough-guy hockey fashion that he wanted to go back in and play. He was taken to the hospital where he remained awake and was pronounced in stable condition.

As for the game, it was immediately postponed. The NHL said in a statement, “As a result of the emotional state of the players on both teams caused by the medical emergency, the game is being postponed. We apologize for any inconvenience and we thank the fans.”

Indeed, most of the players looked absolutely stricken. There was never any question that the game would have to be postponed. Hockey is a game of 60 minutes — three 20-minute periods. But for the players, it is an extraordinarily intense game of 30-45 second shifts where they skate 20 MPH and throw their bodies around with abandon, only to come back a few minutes later and do it again. The mental and physical exertion to play the game at a professional level requires exceptional concentration and conditioning. In this case, both teams appeared emotionally devastated and cancelling the rest of the game was the only choice.

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Top Rated Comments   
This is silly, you are trying to be profound and actually falling flat. You could say exactly the same thing about 95% of thing people do during a average day.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rick, you can say the same thing about a writer who keels over at his desk. Our vocations are significant and relevant, and we should be grateful for them.

But, yes, there are things more important.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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Everything in the world is interesting. Everything is important--everything except professional sports.
http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/ReconsideringSports.html
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I found myself touched by the fact that they saved him so efficiently. Of course this might have something to do with the fact that I happen to have a quivering heart and am pacemaker dependent. ;-)
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, when compared to life and death, the games we play may be insignificant, but so is much of the rest of our lives, too. It could be said that compared to life and death, the column you write is also insignificant. However, both the games we play and the columns we write serve important functions in our lives and without them, life and death would mean so much less.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
He was doing what he loved and then he had a heart attack. How does that make the sport irrelevant?
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
How can something in which people invest a lot of time, energy, and money be "irrelevant"? Yes we all die, does that make all life but reproduction irrelevant? What may be lacking is an anthropology to explainthe significance of games...
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
"moments like tha... us realize how truly insignificant the games we play are and what really matters in life"
Max1903 is right- as Rick dips into one of the grand cliches. It joins "if we can save just one person we ought to..." - "we have to think of the children when..." much mischief can be seen by the power of the cliche.
The cliche acts as a brain freeze where at best folks like blackgriffin dismisses sport intoto and we all fail to answer the cliche with its own dismissal.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
At NHL level, it's not a game. it's a business. I've played hockey for 40 years and nothing compares to it. But old farts like me have to be careful, hearth attacks do happen. It is impossible to pace yourself in the middle of the action. Anyways, sports may not be the most important thing in life, but staying fit should be a priority .
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
The NFL made major upgrades to its on-site medical services in 1972, after receiver Chuck Hughes of the Detroit Lions collapsed and died on the sidelines of a game in Detroit in 1971. Other leagues followed suit, and the fact that the medical staff knew of Peverley’s heart problems probably helped here, as they didn't have to guess why he had collapsed on the bench.

(The other thing to note, going forward, is the NFL made their changes in '72 with little hype or hand-wringing about what caused Hughes death. And improved medical options have filtered down to the college and high school levels over the past 40 years, but try to imagine the same scenario playing out in the NFL in 2014, and we'd have a Jerrydome full of punditry pieces wondering if the game was safe enough for anyone to play anymore. Hockey, as a lower profile sport, would get less of the same treatment, but we are in an era when calling for a risk-free world can get you labeled as a profound journalist or thinker.)
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've never doubted that sports are irrelevant to real life. They're exercise and entertainment, as well as big business because our culture puts far too much value on grown men playing games for an audience. I find the hysteria over teams and wins and championships to be tedious. The only way I would ever care is if one of my children were involved and even then, my interest would be limited to that child's participation. I know, I've just written blasphemy. Oh, well.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Grown men playing games". Yes, exactly.

I like it how, in old movies, sports are described precisely that way. "The Olympic games." Old-time baseball players saying what a great game it is.

That's what it is -- adults playing a game, in which there is a winner and a loser, and the net effect on the outside world is precisely that of the two boys sitting outside playing checkers (i.e. none). It's entertainment -- and great entertainment it is! -- but in a very real sense, it's what we watch to get our minds off important things.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is silly, you are trying to be profound and actually falling flat. You could say exactly the same thing about 95% of thing people do during a average day.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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