The NHL faced a scary moment last week when Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench in the middle of a game.

But had it not been for an AED and well-trained early responders, that scary moment may very well have ended in tragedy.

You’ve probably seen the footage by now. Just minutes into a game between the Stars and the Columbus Blue Jackets, a commotion broke out around the Stars bench, as players and coaches from both teams began shouting for paramedics.

It wasn’t immediately apparent to the fans in attendance or watching on television what was going on, but everyone knew that something was very wrong. It didn’t take long to find out what.

Peverley suffered a “cardiac event” triggered by a pre-existing heart condition, causing him to lose consciousness and collapse. Medical personnel leaped into action immediately and began administering treatment.

After receiving CPR, Peverley was hooked up to an AED, which took just one jolt to restart his heart and get him conscious again.

True to his hockey player roots, he asked to be put back in the game. That request, though admirable, was denied as he was taken to a local hospital.

Needless to say, both teams were visibly shaken, and the game was postponed.

This isn’t the first time that an NHL player has been revived by an AED after suffering from a cardiac event. While incidents like this are frightening, they do serve as a reminder of one very important fact:

Early response to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), especially early response with an AED, can and does save lives.

Had medical personnel not had access to an AED, or had they not been properly trained to use one, there’s no telling what sort of irreparable damage could have been done.

As it is, Peverley will have to undergo heart surgery and will miss the rest of the season, but the results could have been much worse.

For every minute that passes after SCA without defibrillation, survival rates drop by 7-10%. After ten or more minutes, the survival rate drops to less than 5%.

Most importantly, if an AED is used within the first minute, the survival rate jumps to 90%.

Make sure your local gyms and sports facilities have AEDs on hand. You may not be able to predict when SCA will hit, but you can always be prepared. In the end, it could be the difference between life and death.