|All new bulldogs (freshmen, transfers, etc) must take the sickle cell tutorial. Click here.|
NCAA ruling Beginning August 1, 2012, all NCAA Division II athletes must either provide results of a sickle cell solubility test (SST) or decline the test through a written waiver. This must be completed prior to any participation in athletics.
What is sickle cell trait? Sickle cell trait is the inheritance of one gene for sickle hemoglobin and one for normal hemoglobin. People with sickle cell trait have abnormal hemoglobin, oxygen carrying cells, that change shape when the body experiences extreme exertion. These sickle, or quarter-moon, shaped cells can clog arteries and prevent vital oxygen from reaching working tissues. Although episodes of sickling and resultant death are very rare in athletes with sickle cell trait, the NCAA suggests that all athletes know their sickle cell trait status. You can learn more about sickle cell trait by watching this NCAA video.
How do I know if I have it? First check with your pediatrician. U.S. law requires that all Americans are tested at birth. This law went into effect at different times in each state, so you may not have been tested. Testing for sickle cell trait can be done by a simple blood test called Sickle Cell Solubility Test (SST). You family physician can order the test. Sickle cell trait has a prevalence rate of 8-10% in African Americans and 0.046% in nonblack Americans.
What if I have sickle cell trait? First, give a copy of your tests results to the athletic training staff at Truman. Second, learn as much as you can about sickle cell trait. Currently, no sports medicine organization suggests any restrictions for the athlete with sickle cell trait. Because the chance of sickling is more likely when the athlete is exercising in a hot environment, medical organizations suggest the athlete take time to acclimatize, drink plenty of water, and stop if they feel abnormal weakness, undue fatigue, or muscle cramping.
Where can I learn more? Visit the following websites to learn more about sickle cell trait: