University of St. Thomas Medicine

Sickle Cell Trait

 Read Carefully: 

The NCAA recommends that all student-athletes be aware of their sickle cell status. If the student athlete does not know whether he/she is positive for sickle cell trait, the NCAA recommends that student athletes undergo testing to determine their status.

The University of St. Thomas is supportive of this recommendation and requests that each student-athlete provide the Athletic Training Staff with documentation of their sickle cell trait status. If a student opts not to provide the University of St. Thomas with this information, he/she must sign the testing waiver below. To help you make an informed decision regarding this issue, some basic information is provided below, as well as this link to additional resources.

About Sickle Cell Trait

  •  Sickle cell trait is an inherited condition affecting the oxygen-carrying substance, hemoglobin, in the red blood cells.
  • Sickle cell trait is a common condition, which affects more than 3 million Americans.
  •  Although Sickle cell trait occurs most commonly in African-Americans (7.8%) and those of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, Caribbean, and South and Central American ancestry, persons of all races and ethnicities may test positive for this condition.
  •  Unlike persons with actual sickle cell disease, those with sickle cell trait usually have no symptoms or any significant health problems. However, sometimes during very intense, sustained physical activity, as can occur with collegiate sports, certain dangerous conditions can develop in those with sickle cell trait, leading to blood vessel and organ (kidneys, muscles, heart) damage that can cause sudden collapse and death. Some of the settings in which this can occur include timed runs, all out exertion of any type for 2 to 3 continuous minutes without a rest period, intense drills and other bursts of exercise after doing prolonged condition training. Extreme heat, altitude and dehydration increase the risks.

NOTE: Athletes who are positive for sickle cell trait will not be prohibited from participation in intercollegiate athletics


Sickle Cell Trait Verification

Effective 8/01/2013, all NCAA Division III student-athletes must provide evidence of their sickle cell trait status or sign a testing waiver prior to participation in intercollegiate athletics. No student-athlete will be allowed to participate in practice or competition until such evidence is on file with the athletic training staff.

 Acceptable documentation of sickle cell trait status may be obtained using one of the following options: 

Option #1: Requesting Newborn Records 

1. Minnesota-born student-athletes may request newborn screening results directly from the Minnesota Department of Health Newborn Screening Program using the Minnesota Newborn Screening Test Results Minnesota Newborn screening test results. Request forms must include an attached copy of a photo ID or be authenticated by a notary public. Documentation of sickle cell trait status should be sent directly to the student-athlete. It is the student-athlete’s responsibility to provide a copy of this documentation to the athletic training staff.

‌2. Student-athletes may request newborn screening results from the state in which they were born through their personal healthcare provider using the University of St. Thomas

Sickle Cell Trait Verification Form

 Option #2: Sickle Cell Trait Testing

1. Student =-athletes may be tested through their personal healthcare provider. Documentation of sickle cell trait status should be provided using the University of St. Thomas

 Sickle Cell Trait Verification Form

2. Student-athletes may be tested through the University of St. Thomas Student Health Service. Student-athletes should call the University of St. Thomas Student Health Service at (651-962-6750) and request an appointment to determine their sickle cell trait. Documentation of sickle cell trait status should be provided using the University of St. Thomas.

Sickle Cell Trait Verification Form 

Option #3: Sickle Cell Trait Testing Waiver 

While it is strongly recommended that all student-athletes have knowledge of their sickle cell trait status prior to participation in athletically-related activity, student-athletes have the right to forego sickle cell trait testing. Student-athletes choosing to forego sickle cell trait testing must complete the University of St. Thomas:

Sickle Cell Trait Status Testing Waiver 


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