A proposal is making the rounds of the NCAA's Division I teams to test all athletes for sickle cell trait, according to an article in the New York Times. But the measure is being disputed by some groups, such as the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, that say the results could be used to discriminate against athletes who test positive for the disease, and that changing training practices would be enough to lower their risk of death. Some of the most influential football conferences — including the Pacific-10 and the Big East — oppose mandatory testing, the article says, but some schools test for the disease. A 2006 survey of athletic programs found that 21 percent of the 92 respondents screened all athletes for sickle cell trait, the New York Times says. But the worry is that even if the athletes are allowed to play in college, their prospects for the NFL will be dimmed if they come attached with a positive test result. Changing training practices, as the Army did after it stopped testing for sickle cell trait, may the best solution to protect all athletes from the overexertion, the article says.
To Test or Not to Test?
Apr 13, 2010