Sickle Cell Trait Screening
The NCAA recommends that student-athletes confirm their Sickle Cell Trait status if that information is not already known. Having Sickle Cell Trait may place a person at risk for exercise-associated medical conditions including sudden death.
While some babies born in the United States are screened for sickle cell diseases, many student-athletes and their families are unaware of the test results and status. Some students may be able to obtain their newborn screening test results by contacting the medical provider who performed the screening. Unless medical records can clearly document that a student-athlete does not have Sickle Cell Trait, the student-athlete should consider screening.
Sickle Cell Trait (Hb AS):
Typically a benign carrier condition without obvious hematologic manifestations (i.e. does not cause anemia).
1. Prevalence = 8 -10 % in African Americans and as high as 25 - 30 % in certain areas of W. Africa. Caucasian incidence = 1:2,000 to 1:10,000.
2. Approximately 2.5 million people in the US and 300 million in the world have Sickle Cell Trait
3. Serious complications are rare in sickle cell trait, but include:
· Splenic infarction can develop at high altitude
· Bloody urine
· Increased risk for sudden death during prolonged physical conditioning and during exercise at high altitude, presumably in association with rhabdomyolysis
· Risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clots) among African-Americans with sickle cell trait appears to be 2-4 times that of African-Americans without this condition
4. Athletes who test positive for Sickle Cell Trait do not have to quit their sport, but would meet with the Coach, Athletic Trainer and Team Physician to discuss training strategies to prevent medical emergencies.
5. More information on Sickle Cell Trait Screening is available at:
Students who would like to know their Sickle Cell Trait status can call x 5135 to schedule a nurse appointment for a lab test (blood draw), or speak with their Athletic Trainer.