As a Blue Jackets fan, I watched the Rich Peverley medical emergency unfold on live television. I listened as Jackets between the bench commentator Jody Shelley threw his headset off mid-sentence to get out of the way of the medical staff. It was a scary situation to watch unfold, but fortunately, Peverley recovered and is reportedly doing okay.
I am just simply amazed by the response from both team’s medical staff. While it appeared and sounded chaotic on television as the officials stopped the game, Peverley was removed from the bench and already being worked on by medical staff before spectators could even realize what was going on. First speculation from the Blue Jackets announcers was that a linesman was injured along the boards. This is not a knock on their reporting, but a testament to how quickly the medical staff responded to the emergency.
While player safety has become a big issue for the NHL, last night reminds us that the NHL is one of the safer leagues a player could play in. In the aftermath of the Peverley emergency, Alexei Cherepanov immediately came to my mind. Cherepanov tragically died while playing for Avangard Omsk of the KHL when he went into cardiac arrest on the bench during a game. The ambulance that was supposed to be stationed at the arena during the game inexplicably left early, and there was no emergency defibrillator present in the arena.
Last night showed that the NHL is prepared and that the risk of a tragedy like what happened to Cherepanov occurring in an NHL arena is remarkably reduced. Hockey is a dangerous sport, and accidents will happen, but the medical staff of all 30 teams are prepared to respond just like they did to Rich Peverley. The Dallas Stars staff were the heroes last night. However, had this emergency occurred in any NHL arena, the response would have been the same.
If you would like to read several eye witness accounts to last night’s emergency, Puck Daddy has that for you. Last night was a chilling reminder that hockey players are human and can have the same medical problems that can affect you and me. It isn’t just concussions, broken legs, and cuts. Thankfully, the medical staff is prepared to handle whatever emergency is thrown their way.