LONGVIEW - After losing her son five years ago from cardiac arrest, one East Texas mother is making it her mission to give heart screenings to athletes.
"It was the first day of spring practice at LSU. They were in Alexandria, Louisiana playing baseball," said mother Debbie Goyne. "Brandon had collapsed."
They did CPR immediately, and used an AED, but it was too late for Brandon.
In an autopsy, Goyne found out her son had a rare heart condition, explaining why the AED didn't work.
"When he exercised, his heart developed scar tissue instead of strengthening muscle. Ultimately, his heart had scar tissue all throughout it, so there was no muscle for the impulse to go through," she said.
Brandon always passed his physicals, never showing any signs of a heart condition.
"If he would've had a heart test, we would've known he had a heart condition," she said. "Who does a heart test on a perfectly healthy person that's never had a symptom?"
She's spent the last five years traveling across East Texas and Louisiana, giving heart screenings to any school district that wanted them.
On Friday, she went to Spring Hill High School in Longview, and gave screenings to any athlete in the area that signed up.
"I myself don't know my heart conditions. If I didn't come here today, and I had a blood clot or something wrong with my heart, I would've passed out on the court and died," said Ronnie Fritz, a freshman at East Texas Baptist University.
Fortunately, Fritz found out he had heart murmurs when he was 10 years old.
"Ninety percent of the time, the first symptom is when they collapsed from that sudden cardiac arrest," Goyne said.
She and her husband petitioned in front of UIL to make heart testing in athletic physicals mandatory.
"What they said was, it just doesn't happen enough to mandate it for physicals," she said.
She has tested more than 18,000 athletes. In at least 26 of them, she found a heart condition that could've turned fatal.
"Everyone wants us to be proactive. Eat right. Be health. Exercise. Wear your seatbelt, but we don't want to do a simple couple of heart tests to make sure our kids are okay," Goyne said.
Any school district can reach out to Goyne if they want heart screenings. You can contact her online at the Brandon Goyne Foundation or by phone at (903) 503-2759.
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