Philly kid meets teammates of player who shares his heart condition

Posted: March 21, 2014

NINE-YEAR-OLD Tommy "TJ" Ramos doesn't have a broken heart, his ticker just marches to its own beat - like Dallas Stars hockey player Rich Peverley's heart.

Luckily, both guys - who have the same genetic heart condition called CPVT - were surrounded by their teammates and quick-thinking men with CPR skills when their irregular heartbeats led to sudden cardiac arrests during sporting events.

TJ, a Philly kid who plays baseball and hockey, got a chance to meet Peverley's teammates yesterday morning before their game against the Flyers.

The players gave TJ and his family a standing ovation when they walked in the locker room.

Peverley, still recovering from surgery in Cleveland on Tuesday, did not attend, but TJ delivered a letter to the team for Peverley.

The letter contained these words: "I wanted to tell you that my surgery worked and don't be scared."

When Peverley, 31, collapsed during a March 10 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, TJ's family knew just how helpless Peverley's teammates felt.

TJ's family had watched TJ collapse shortly after he took the field for the Torresdale Boys Club baseball team on Sept. 12. Thanks to two off-duty Philadelphia police officers at the game, TJ got CPR and survived. His story was on the Daily News cover Sept. 27.

He spent five weeks in the hospital and now has a device that is a combination of a pacemaker and defibrillator installed in his heart.

TJ may never be able to play contact sports again, said his mom, Micki Ramos.

"It stinks because that's specifically what he likes to do," Micki said. "But we realize how lucky we are."

Inside the visiting team's locker room yesterday, the team put a Stars jersey on TJ that the polite but avid Flyers fan tore off the second he was out of the locker room.

"Well, you keep battling young man, all right?" Stars left wing Ray Whitney said.

TJ's dad, Carlos, told the team his son was indeed a fighter.

"He's a hockey player, like you guys," Carlos said. "You know how it is. You knock 'em down and you get back up again."

Also on hand was Darren Sudman of Simon's Fund, an organization he started to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrests in kids after he lost his son. Sudman thanked the players for meeting with TJ.

"All these kids look to you and they all think you're invincible but this kind of delivered the message that, 'Hey, you can be tough but you've got to pay attention to your body,' " Sudman said.

On Twitter: @FarFarrAway

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