Slide 1: To play a Division 1 sport, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) requires documentation of which hematologic disease?

Slide 2: Sickle cell disease! In addition to routine cardiac screening for athletes, which involves a history with physical examination and potential electrocardiogram (ECG), the NCAA also requires sickle cell screening for all participants.

Slide 3: In the early 200s, 15 athletes, mostly football players, died of exertional rhabdomyolysis and were found to have sickle cell trait. One particular case, the death of Dale Lloyd II, led to a lawsuit against Rice University and the NCAA, which was the impetus for instituting universal screening.

Slide 4: Sickle cell trait, in which a patient carries one copy of the HbS gene, is generally benign but ca be associated with hematuria, splenic infarction, renal cancer, and exertional rhabdomyolysis. However, the mandate to screen all athletes has been highly controversial. Notably, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) has released a policy disagreeing with universal athlete screening, touting the lack of evidence to support it.


  • Hainline B, Drezner JA, Baggish A, Harmon KG, Emery MS, Myerburg RJ, Sanchez E, Molossi S, Parsons JT, Thompson PD. Interassociation Consensus Statement on Cardiovascular Care of College Student-Athletes. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016 Jun 28;67(25):2981-95. PMID 27090220.
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Board of Directors: April 29, 2010 Report. Link.
  • NPR. NCAA May Force Schools to Test for Sickle Cell Trait. Link.
  • Bonham VL, Dover GJ, Brody LC. Screening student athletes for sickle cell trait–a social and clinical experiment. N Engl J Med. 2010 Sep 9;363(11):997-9. PMID 20825310.
  • Thompson AA. Sickle cell trait testing and athletic participation: a solution in search of a problem? Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2013;2013:632-7. PMID 24319243.

Tags: , , , ,