Haughton student uses EKG screenings

Amanda Simmons
amanda@bossierpress.com

Jonathan Plant’s senior project could potentially save someone’s life.

He organized a public EKG screening event at the Haughton High School field house with project mentor Debbie Goyne with the Brandon Goyne Foundation, whose mission supports heart health among all students and student athletes. An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG shows the heart’s electrical activity as line tracings on paper, which doctors use to look for patterns among these heartbeats and rhythms to diagnose various heart conditions.

ECG/EKGs are 94% accurate at picking up electrical abnormalities in the heart. Athletic physicals with a stethoscope only pick up 1%.

Brandon Goyne was a student athlete at LSU Alexandria when he collapsed on the school’s baseball field January 18, 2013. His family learned that his death was a result of ARVD, or Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia.

Haughton senior Jonathan Plant with senior project mentor Debbie Goyne, mother of Brandon Goyne.
Haughton senior Jonathan Plant with senior project mentor Debbie Goyne, mother of Brandon Goyne.

Debbie said Brandon had no prior symptoms. He had seven physicals in nine years — once in middle school, twice in high school, three during his years in college and once for a summer job. None of those physicals found Brandon’s heart abnormality.

As Brandon exercised, Debbie explained, his heart developed scar tissue instead of strengthening muscle, ultimately leading to his unexpected death.

“Brandon’s condition was too far advanced,” Debbie said. “There was nothing they could have done to save Brandon.”

The Brandon Goyne Foundation’s sole purpose is to champion the cause for school districts and colleges to add EKGs/ECGs to required athletic physicals. Although a cardiac abnormality is rarely found, it only takes a short test to ensure a young person’s heart health.

Jonathan was the first one to receive an EKG test at the Oct. 22 event. He, too, loves playing baseball and although he didn’t know Brandon personally, Jonathan said he was the kind of person you would want to be.

“He was a great leader and had a great head on his shoulders. He was an all around great guy,” Jonathan said.

The ultimate goal with his senior project, Jonathan said, is to not only educate the local community on the importance of these tests, but to hopefully help save someones life. He hopes other schools will catch on and host their own events.

“This area can benefit from these tests,” Jonathan said. “All it takes is one simple test to save a life.”

For more information on the Brandon Goyne Foundation, visit www.thebrandongoynefoundation.com or visit their Facebook page. To make an appointment for your school or organization, call 903-503-2759 or e-mail debbie.goyne@whoweplayfor.org. Tests are $15 per person.