Sickle cell trait testing and athletic participation: a solution in search of a problem?

Alexis A Thompson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Carriers of a single sickle cell gene mutation generally enjoy normal lifespans without serious health consequences related to their sickle cell status, but under extreme conditions such as severe dehydration and high-intensity physical activity, complications such as exertional rhabdomyolysis, splenic infarction, and papillary necrosis can occur. Recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a policy that requires sickle cell solubility testing for all incoming student athletes. However, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and other physician organizations oppose this policy. What is the basis for this controversy and how have new findings moved the field forward? I discuss herein the epidemiology, genetics, and clinical studies of sickle cell trait; review the implications of current policies regarding sickle cell trait screening and interventions for the student athlete; and examine additional areas where more information is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-637
Number of pages6
JournalHematology / the Education Program of the American Society of Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program
Volume2013
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Fingerprint

Sickle Cell Trait
Sports
Athletes
Splenic Infarction
Students
Rhabdomyolysis
Molecular Epidemiology
Dehydration
Solubility
Necrosis
Organizations
Exercise
Physicians
Mutation
Health
Genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

Cite this

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title = "Sickle cell trait testing and athletic participation: a solution in search of a problem?",
abstract = "Carriers of a single sickle cell gene mutation generally enjoy normal lifespans without serious health consequences related to their sickle cell status, but under extreme conditions such as severe dehydration and high-intensity physical activity, complications such as exertional rhabdomyolysis, splenic infarction, and papillary necrosis can occur. Recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a policy that requires sickle cell solubility testing for all incoming student athletes. However, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and other physician organizations oppose this policy. What is the basis for this controversy and how have new findings moved the field forward? I discuss herein the epidemiology, genetics, and clinical studies of sickle cell trait; review the implications of current policies regarding sickle cell trait screening and interventions for the student athlete; and examine additional areas where more information is needed.",
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