NCAA Issues New Rule on Sickle Cell Testing

In 2006, Dale Lloyd II, a black football player at Rice University in Houston, Texas, was given a nutritional supplement shake to drink after a practice session. The shake included creatine, an organic acid that can have damaging side effects to athletes with the sickle cell trait. Returning to practice, Lloyd collapsed on the field and died.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has issued a new rule requiring all student athletes be tested for the sickle cell trait, show proof of a prior test, or sign a waiver releasing a college or university from any liability. Allowing students to decline the test addresses concerns that students with the sickle cell trait might be denied athletic opportunities if they tested positive.

People with the sickle cell trait can be of any race. But African Americans are far more likely to have the trait than whites.