On Friday morning, Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley was on with Dunham and Miller, the highly-rated morning show on SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket. Peverley, who collapsed on the Stars bench during a March 10 game with the Columbus Blue Jackets with what was termed a cardiac event, discussed the incident, how his recovery is going and his possible future on and off the ice.
"Yeah, everything’s been going really well," Peverley said of his recovery. "I’ve been taking steps along the way here to see how my heart reacts and it’s been going really well. Just been ramping it up as time goes on and as I keep achieving new goals, and everything’s been going really well."
The 32-year-old native of Kingston, Ontario registered 30 points (23 assists) in 62 games with Dallas last season and was a plus-3 player before the event sidelined him for the season. The next week, he underwent surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to correct an irregular heartbeat.
Of course, the logical hockey question surrounding this veteran center is whether or not he will be back on the ice for head coach Lindy Ruff and company this season or if his condition is career-threatening.
But the answer is yet to be determined.
"Well, I think we’re just in the middle of the process still," Peverley said. "I think we’re moving along here. I’m going to take some new steps here in Dallas in the next couple weeks and we’ll see exactly where I am. 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."
And receiving clearance to play is still a number of steps away, but of course that is the ultimate goal for the former Nashville Predator, Atlanta Thrasher and Boston Bruin.
"Well, they cleared me to start the process of working out. To actually clear me to play is a lot of steps down the road, but they did clear me almost within a couple of weeks of the first surgery that I had," Peverley said.
But his next goal is to get off the medication he’s been on since the incident to see how his heart reacts under stress without those drugs to offset any possible future event.
"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," Peverley said.
However, if he is cleared to play again, the decision of whether to return to the ice will be one he makes by consulting his doctors, family, coaches, teammates and other members of the Stars organization so he can determine a course of action that is beneficial for all parties involved.
"When I get to that step and cross that bridge, I’ll cross it. I think there’s definitely a lot of factors, myself where I am mentally, my family, my wife, I have two kids and I think it’s got to be made under the right circumstances, under the right educated decision," Peverley said.
He added: "We also have to take into fact of the coaches and the players that were there that night and their comfort level and the organization’s comfort level of having me come back. I can’t answer for anyone else except for myself, but right now I’m motivated to come back. But like I said, it’s got to be under the right circumstances."
Right after the incident, he talked about how it definitely changed how he views life and the world in general. Peverley continues to have the same sort of outlook now, some four months after.
"Well, 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," Peverley 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, the man who was part of a Stanley Cup-winning team in Boston a few years back remains in a holding pattern about his hockey future. But to channel Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett for a short minute, he knows this is a process and all he can do right now is focus on the next step in that process to get closer to reaching his eventual ultimate goal of being cleared to play.
But until that happens, he is definitely taking this step-by-step.
"I think everybody’s just kind of playing the waiting game. We can’t answer to the way that my heart’s going to react," Peverley said. "We have to wait and take the appropriate steps. I think once everybody has gathered the information, we can then move on and make the right decision for everyone."