After son sidelined by heart condition, Gahanna mother urges parents to follow up for test results

Better Call Jackson

GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) — After a Gahanna high school athlete experienced a heart incident during a football game, he found out it was a serious heart problem and that he shouldn’t have even been playing. Now, his mother is working to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to other teenage athletes. 

For central Ohio high school student and athlete Dylan Brookins, life was all about playing ball.

“From 5 years old it was football, we are going to college to play football,” Robyn Brookins, Dylan’s mother, said. But those dreams for the gridiron came crashing down when he was sidelined during a recent Gahanna football game after his heart started beating erratically.

“They said he had to be evaluated by a cardiologist before he could play next Friday,” Robyn Brookins said. 

But playing next Friday would never come to pass after a doctor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital diagnosed Dylan with a devastating heart disease.

“He has the most serious one, which is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,” Robyn said.  

The diagnosis was a shock for both mother and son. Dylan had no symptoms and was cleared for heart problems an entire year before, or so his mother thought.

“Anybody tests your child, [make sure you] follow up. You need the results,” Robyn said.  

Mobile Cardio Overview and Risk Evaluation, or mCORE, tested Dylan at his school in September of 2017.

“Our mission is to educate and prevent sudden cardiac arrest in our youth,” said Lisa Tennanbaum with mCORE.  

mCORE is a non-profit organization that makes sure student athletes are fit to play sports using EKG and echo heart tests.

“It is probably 1 in 100 kids probably has an abnormality that they don’t know about and that’s why they call it the silent killer,” Tennanbaum said.  

Dylan’s test came back abnormal, which is concerning but not restrictive. If it had come back restrictive, mCORE would have intervened.

“We don’t see the results unless they are restricted, ”Tennenbaum said.  

Robyn Brookins said at the time she didn’t have the $77 fee for the results and did not know about or take advantage of mCORE’s policy of providing free results as needed.

“We don’t want this to be about money, the goal is to screen as many kids and save as many kids as we can,” Tennenbaum said.  

Dylan played sports for an entire year when he should not have. It’s something his mom regrets to this day,

“He could have died,” Robyn said.

She wants other parents to get their children tested and follow up even if they think nothing is wrong,

“You have to follow up, regardless if you think nothing is wrong like I did,” Robyn Brookins said.  

Although Dylan’s dreams of playing college or pro football may never be realized, his mother said he has a new dream, of coaching football.

“He is a good kid, he really is,” Robyn said.  

You can learn more about getting your child’s heart tested though mCORE  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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