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NCAA Recommends Testing To Confirm Sickle Cell Trait Status In Student-Athletes

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 29, 2009

Erik Christianson
Director of Public and Media Relations

INDIANAPOLIS—The NCAA is recommending its member colleges and universities test student-athletes to confirm their Sickle Cell Trait status if that information is not already known.

The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports adopted the recommendation June 25. The committee’s action follows guidelines from leading medical groups and stems from the resolution of a lawsuit the NCAA has reached with the family of Dale Lloyd II.

Mr. Lloyd, a former football student-athlete at Rice University, died in 2006 following practice at the university. Testing indicated his status as a carrier of the Sickle Cell Trait contributed to his death. The resolution announced today settles a lawsuit the family filed against Rice and the NCAA. 

“The death of any young person is a tragedy, and we express our condolences to the family of Dale Lloyd II,” said Elsa Cole, NCAA vice president for legal affairs and general counsel. “Under this resolution with the family, the NCAA has agreed to a number of commitments that are consistent with its educational mission to assist member colleges and universities in better understanding Sickle Cell Trait as it relates to student-athletes.”

The NCAA’s testing recommendation follows the latest guidelines from the National Athletic Trainers Association and the College of American Pathologists. Both NATA and CAP recommend screening for the Sickle Cell Trait if a student-athlete’s status is not known.

As part of the resolution with the Lloyd family, the NCAA agrees to take the following actions:

  • Amend its Sports Medicine Handbook Guideline 3c to state that while Sickle Cell Trait screening is normally performed on all U.S. babies at birth, some student-athletes may not know if they have the trait. Following recommendations from NATA and CAP, the NCAA recommends athletics departments confirm Sickle Cell Trait status in all student-athletes, if it is not already known, during their required medical examinations.
  • Donate $50,000 to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America in the name of Dale Lloyd II, which the family requested. The association will use the funds to provide awareness, education and screening for Sickle Cell Trait in the athletic population.
  • Contribute $10,000 to the Dale Lloyd II Scholarship Fund.
  • Prepare an educational video about Sickle Cell Trait to appear on the NCAA website and make it available to member schools.
  • Stress a point of emphasis on the Sports Medicine Handbook Guideline 3c in regular preseason communication with media prior to the 2009 football season and in the football rules book.


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