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Life-saving screening detects student athlete’s potentially fatal heart condition

Life-saving screening detects student athlete’s potentially fatal heart condition

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Seventeen-year-old Brogan Kelly loves to play sports, including football and wrestling. He trains hard and often at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach where he is a junior. On the football team, Brogan is the starting inside linebacker.

“After high school, I want to play college football,” said Brogan. “I love sports, especially football.”

Life-saving screening detects student athlete’s potentially fatal heart condition

In 2023, Brogan was one of 1,500 students in Volusia and Flagler counties who took part in AdventHealth’s free annual program that provides electrocardiogram (ECG) screenings, a common and painless test used to quickly screen the electrical conductivity of the heart, which could be altered due to underlying heart problems, in addition to state-required physicals for student athletes. This is all part of a partnership between AdventHealth and the school districts to help keep student athletes at the top of their game.

But, a few days after his screening, Brogan received a very unexpected phone call that there was a problem.

Life-saving screening detects student athlete’s potentially fatal heart condition

His parents took him to see a cardiologist who referred Brogan to a cardiac surgeon.

“The surgeon told us that Brogan had what’s called ARCA, which stands for Anomalous Right Coronary Artery,” said Barbara Kelly, Brogan’s mom. “The surgeon told us he needed to operate on Brogan’s heart to prevent sudden death because ARCA could be fatal.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death among high school athletes. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that 1 in 300 student athletes suffer from an underlying condition that has not been detected.

Brogan was one of 38 students whose heart screening showed an abnormality during AdventHealth’s 2023 events. After being examined by a physician, five of those students, including Brogan, were deemed high risk.

“When the surgeon said our son’s condition could result in sudden death, the thought was unimaginable,” Barbara said. “Our son seemed to be so healthy. We were in shock.”

Brogan underwent surgery to correct the abnormality. After six months, he was cleared by his physician to wrestle. And now, he’s gearing up for football season.

“We are very blessed AdventHealth caught Brogan’s heart condition so that it could be surgically repaired. A year later, he’s happy and healthy,” Barbara said.

For Brogan, the screening he had last year brought him peace of mind as he looks to the future.

“It’s so nice not to have to worry about my heart anymore,” he said. “I think it’s important that all student athletes get a heart screening in addition to the physical, because you don’t really know what condition your heart is in. And, in the end, it could save your life.”

For years, AdventHealth has provided free physicals and electrocardiogram screenings to student athletes in both Volusia and Flagler counties. This year, the screenings for Volusia County Schools student athletes will be April 10-13 at the Daytona International Speedway. To register your student athlete, visit

The screenings for Flagler County Schools student athletes will be May 15 and 16 at Flagler Palm Coast High School. To register, please visit

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