243450 National Collegiate Athletic Association mandated sickle cell trait screening policy: Implications for the athlete

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:10 PM

Raymona Lawrence, DrPH, MPH , Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Background/Introduction: Effective August 2010, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Proposal No. 2009-75-B mandated sickle cell trait testing in all Division I athletes. Sickle Cell Trait primarily affects African Americans. Sickle cell screening programs have been scrutinized since the 1970s because of insensitivity to race. The recent change in NCAA Guideline 3c has been scrutinized partially for the same reason. The purpose of this study was to 1) determine perceptions of SCT and NCAA mandated SCT testing from college coaches and athletes' points of view; 2) determine components of an intervention that will be developed to educate athletes, and coaches, about sickle cell trait, and 3) to highlight the potential implications of an NCAA policy mandating SCT testing.

Methods: This was a sequential explanatory mixed methods study utilizing the PRECEDE-PROCEED, Health Belief Model, and Critical Race Theories. The first phase of the project was a survey of all athletes on campus ages 18-24. The second phase involved three focus groups and in-depth interviews with coaches and athletes. Phase II also involved an in-depth analysis of sickle cell policy from 1972-present.

Results: 72.2% (n=187) of athletes believed that NCAA mandated SCT testing was “Very Good/Good”. Qualitative analysis revealed that the NCAA policy has potential for discrimination towards SCT carriers and that policy has not been made that protects athletes from these possible negative implications.

Conclusions: Athletes and coaches lack knowledge of SCT. It is necessary to develop policy that will lessen the possibility of discrimination towards SCT carriers.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Learners will be able to analyze National Collegiate Athletic Association sickle cell trait policy for possible negative implications towards athletes who are SCT carriers. 2. Learners will be able to formulate suggestions on ways to enhance current NCAA SCT policy so that athletes with SCT are protected against possible negative implications. 3. Learners will be able to compare historical sickle cell trait screening practices such as those of the United States Military and the 1972 Sickle Cell Disease Control Act to the current NCAA sickle cell policy.

Keywords: Social Justice, Genetics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the Wellness Program Director for Georgia Southern University as well as a member of the faculty of the Jiann Ping Hsu College of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.