When an NHL’ers Heart Stopped, an AED Saved his Life

It was less than seven minutes into a Dallas Stars game on March 10th, 2014 when forward Rich Peverley slumped over in cardiac arrest on the bench.

When Peverley didn’t have a pulse, the trainers connected him to an automated external defibrillator (AED) – and hoped and waited for it to jolt his heart back into rhythm.

Now, almost three years later, Peverley is actively educating the public on how to use an AED and act swiftly in the face of a cardiac emergency (like the trainers did that saved his life).

What is an AED?

An AED is a portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart that can stop an irregular heart rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest.

When someone is in cardiac arrest, survival rates drop by seven to 10% every minute. However, if CPR is administered and an AED is used, survival rates increase by up to 75%.

Do you know what do to when a teammate goes into cardiac arrest on the ice?

“We need to get more AEDs out into the community,” said Rich Peverley. “I also want to teach people and make them comfortable using it. It may seem easy, until you’re under duress.”

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Photo: Bleacher Report

Furthering Peverley’s mission to teach more people to use AED’s, the Locker Room Doctor, a guys’-locker-room-consult-meets-beer-commercial approach to discussing everything from arthritis to slapshots, recently published an educational (yet entertaining) video on how to respond to a cardiac emergency on the ice.

The video has reached more than hundreds of thousands of people (and counting) across North America in only two months and has prompted a number of people to share their very personal stories about cardiac arrest and AEDs on the Locker Room Doctor Facebook page.

One man shared story about how his father passed away as a result of a heart attack while playing hockey at age of 44 in 1991. Unfortunately, the arena he played in didn’t have an AED as they weren’t common at that time. His teammates did CPR but with no avail.

“Would have an AED helped him? I would like to think so. If there is one thing I can say to everyone out there is please learn CPR and how to use an AED as it could save someone’s life. You have to give them the best chance there is,” he says.

Another hockey player shared his own personal story about how he had a heart attack during a game. Luckily, the opposing goaltender was an E.R. Doctor. “Its five years later and I’m still playing,” he says. But you don’t have to be an E.R. Doctor to save a life during a cardiac emergency. Anyone can use an AED.

Preparation is key to responding quickly to a cardiac emergency.

1. Know where the AED is in your home rink and whenever you’re at an away game, always locate the AED before you hit the ice.
2. Watch this video from the Locker Room Doctor on how to respond when someone is unresponsive.
3. Share the video with someone who needs to see it (pretty much everyone).

Leave a Comment

  • George M Hamilton 2 years ago

    After playing hockey over 60 years,
    this video has reminded me to update my CPR training and to learn more about AED’s. Thanks for
    promoting safety and training in senior sports.

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