Lawsuit Is a Warning to All Universities With African-American Athletes

The parents of Dale Lloyd II, a black student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, who died after football practice in 2006, have filed a lawsuit against the university. The lawsuit claims that Rice, and most other universities nationwide, do not adequately screen athletes to see if they have the sickle-cell trait, and, if so, do not adjust nutritional supplements given to athletes who have the trait.

The sickle-cell trait is rare among whites but occurs in about one of every 12 African Americans.

According to the lawsuit, Dale Lloyd was given a nutritional supplement shake to drink after practice. The shake included creatine, an organic acid that can have damaging side effects to athletes with the sickle-cell trait.

After drinking the shake, the black football player was told to run 16 100-yard sprints in succession. He collapsed on the field and never regained consciousness.

In filing the wrongful death suit, the athlete’s parents seek to encourage all colleges and universities to test their African-American athletes for the sickle-cell trait.