Brian’s Story

Young Man’s Heart Stops While Playing Basketball with Friends

Brian was only 23 when myocarditis took him so suddenly from his friends and family.

As told by Brian’s mother, Maria Rodriguez

Brian ArsenioI will never forget that call…the call that changed our lives forever. It was Thursday, August 26, 2010, at approximately 5:30pm. I received a call from my daughter, who had just received a call from Brian’s friend, Steve, saying something had happened to Brian, a seizure he thought. They were playing basketball at the park and while running down the court, Brian had stopped, his body froze stiff and fell straight backwards, hitting his head on the cement. They had called an ambulance and he was on his way to the hospital.

When I arrived at the hospital, the hospital staff would not initially allow me to see Brian. I didn’t know what was going on. Then they told me he was gone. No, it couldn’t be. They tried to revive him for about an hour, but no response. His heart had just stopped. They didn’t give me any more details. I would have to wait for the medical examiner’s report. Apparently, he was gone before he even got to the hospital. How could this be? It was impossible. He was not sick; overall healthy and active in sports. His only complaint had been of frequent headaches for the past couple weeks.

Brian had so much going for him. That same day, he had received a call from his boss informing him of his job promotion which he had worked so hard for. He was engaged to be married. His dreams were slowing coming true. He had a whole new life ahead of him. A life that was gone in a few minutes. Brian was only 23-years old.

After almost six months of torment, I finally received a call from the medical examiner who told me Brian died from Lymphocytic Myocarditis. A rare and fatal heart disease I had never heard of. Still not making any sense, I began doing research and came across the Myocarditis Foundation. It is a relief to know that there is such an organization doing research in an effort to provide scientific advancement of both the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. As well as a place where families who have been affected by this rare disease can go to and not feel alone. I have started a foundation in my son’s name and will donate a portion of funds raised to the Myocarditis Foundation. Please join me in this venture.