When Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench in the first period of Monday night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the television crews for both teams were thrust into a tense, emotional situation not typical of the average broadcast.
Here's the incident.
Viewer discretion is advised.
As the scene unfolded, the Stars broadcast team of Ralph Strangis and Darryl Reaugh passed along what little information they had, and the Blue Jackets broadcast tandem of Jeff Rimer and Bill Davidge did the same.
Both crews refrained from speculating about Peverley's condition and instead provided just the facts: That he collapsed, that the game was in a delay, and that more information would be passed along when made available.
Initially, the Blue Jackets crew didn't know which player had collapsed, but then received word that it was Peverley from the Stars public relations staff and relayed the information immediately.
For the next fifteen or so minutes, both feeds handled it in a professional, downright human way – chiming in only sporadically to recap what happened and to explain the situation to new viewers tuning in.
On FOX Sports Southwest, Strangis and Reaugh went silent for much of the delay. Cameras panned around the American Airlines Center showing concerned looks on the faces of fans.
Peverley was rushed to a local hospital. Reports that the 31-year-old was conscious trickled out on Twitter, and the broadcast teams relayed it quickly.
But the concern over Peverley's condition was then replaced by uncertainty about the game itself. Would it be resumed? Postponed, canceled?
Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson joined the FOX Sports Ohio broadcast and said the rest of the game would be "canceled" (later it was announced it was postponed). By getting Davidson on the air with the news in a timely manner (under the circumstances), FSO showed that viewers were the priority.
Both crews wrapped up with the updates about Peverley and the postponement, then signed off shortly after.
Fans and broadcast crews have a tendency to take sports more seriously than they should at times, but when a situation like this unfolds, it takes us out of the sports world and back into reality.
Both FOX Sports Ohio and FOX Sports Southwest deserve credit for handling it with professionalism and respect. They managed to balance the need for information with an understanding that the diagnosis very well could have been grim.
There were a lot of unknowns and many fans no doubt feared the worst, but the local broadcast teams managed to convey a sense of calm throughout.Their work did local viewers a tremendous service, and should be used as a guide for broadcasters preparing for the possibility of similar situations in the future.