After losing her son to a sudden cardiac arrest, one East Texas mom is fighting to make heart screenings mandatory for student athletes.
The UIL does not require student athletes to get a heart screening during physicals.
Debbie Goyne lost her son Brandon to sudden heart failure five years ago on January 18. He was at a baseball practice at LSU when he suddenly collapsed.
Goyne said they performed CPR immediately, and used a defibrillator, but it was too late.
"It never occurred to me that he would have a heart issue," Goyne said. "He never felt bad. He was the epitome of health."
Brandon always passed his physicals, never showing any signs of a heart condition.
Goyne explained that Brandon had a rare heart condition where his heart developed scar tissue instead of strengthening muscle. If he would've had a heart test, they could have detected it earlier.
Goyne and her husband petitioned in front of The UIL, in an attempt to make heart screenings mandatory during athletic physicals.
"They told me it did not happen enough to mandate it," Goyne said. "How many kids have to pass away before they deem it important enough to encourage heart testing."
CBS19 reached out to The UIL and received a statement. It reads:
Health and safety of all participants is extremely important to the UIL. The UIL requires all student-athletes to complete a medical history form annually. This includes the cardiac health questions recommended by the American Heart Association. Student-athletes are also required to undergo a physical examination prior to junior high participation and on the first and third years of high school participation. Students-athletes and their parents must sign the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form each year. The UIL Medical Advisory Committee has determined that these are the most appropriate, scientifically-based steps to reduce the instances of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in UIL athletes. Students may choose to have additional heart screenings. State law also requires all coaches, nurses, PE teachers, band directors, cheerleader sponsors and student trainers maintain current certification in CPR and AED. Each UIL member high school campus must have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) readily available.
A cardiac electrophysiologist at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis, Dr. John Sims, said sometimes the first symptom is cardiac arrest, which is more often fatal than not.
"As a parent, I would consider doing it in my kids," Dr. Sims said. "As far as pediatricians go, doing EKGs for all their patients."
Dr. Sims also said that the heart goes through lots of changes before the age of 12, and that can cause a misdiagnosis.
"An EKG for a 12 year old is different than a 25 year old," Dr. Sims said. "There are changes that occur as you get older that begin to normalize as you get older. Some of those changes early on can be misconstrued."
The Brandon Goyne Foundation has given more than 18,000 screenings, out of those she said they have found 27 students with heart conditions that could have turned fatal.
For information on how to get heart screenings for you child, contact by phone at (903) 503-2759.