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Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Educational Initiative on Sickle Cell Trait for the Athletic Population

Position Statements

The Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Collegiate Conditioning Sessions: Best Practice Recommendations
Since 2000, 21 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football players died during conditioning workouts. The 3 most common causes of death were in order exercise-related sudden death associated with sickle cell trait (SCT), exertional heat stroke, and cardiac conditions. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), in collaboration with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), met in January 2012 to find a solution to the increase in sudden deaths during collegiate conditioning sessions. As a result, this consensus statement provides specific conditioning recommendations in order to prevent conditioning-related morbidity and deaths of college athletes.

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Consensus Statement: Sickle Cell Trait and the Athlete 
In 2007, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association released a consensus statement on Sickle Cell Trait and the Athlete in order to raise awareness of among athletes, coaches, and athletic trainers about sickle cell trait. The consensus statement includes background information about sickle cell trait as well important information on the prevention, recognition and treatment of exertional sickling.

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Preventing Sudden Death in Sports
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association recently released a new position statement on the prevention of sudden death in sport. This position statement provides the latest information on the leading causes of sudden death in sport, which include: Asthma, catastrophic brain injuries, cervical spine injuries, diabetes, exertional heat stroke, exertional hyponatremia, exertional sickling, head-down contact in football, lightning, and sudden cardiac arrest.

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Emergency Planning in Athletics
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association has a position statement on Emergency Planning in Athletics whose objective is to educate athletic trainers and other medical professionals about the need for emergency planning. The purpose of this position statement is also to provide guidelines for developing emergency action plans and advocate for the recommended documentation associated with emergency planning.

College of American Pathologists: Sickle Cell Trait and the Athlete
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) recommends all athletic programs consider a screening process for sickle cell trait. CAP encourages and educational environment for all athletes, athletic trainers and coaches in order to recognize an exertional sickling event and care for the individual in the best possible way. 

American Society of Hematology: Statement on Screening for Sickle Cell Trait and Athletic Participation
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) has produced a statement regarding sickle cell trait screening and the implementation of procedures to prevent sudden death in athletes. The ASH does not support the NCAA recommendations for Division I policy and justifies this position in this statement.