Online Program

Ncaa sickle cell trait screening: Challenges facing health education and promotion

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Raymona Lawrence, DrPH, MPH, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Gulzar Shah, PhD, MStat, MS, Department of Health Policy and Management, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sickle cell trait (SCT) screening policy mandates SCT testing for athletes in Divisions I-III. There is some ambiguity in scientific evidence regarding the health risks related to SCT and extreme exertion leading some to question the necessity of the NCAA's universal screening policy. Experts have expressed concerns about the possibility of discrimination towards athletes who are SCT carriers. Despite the concerns about the social and behavioral consequences, most literature examines the NCAA's SCT screening policy from a clinical perspective-discounting the potential health inequities that may result. The objectives are to 1) To explore college athlete and coaches perceptions about SCT and NCAA policies on SCT testing, and 2) To determine potential health inequities that could result from the NCAA's SCT screening policy. A mixed methods study was conducted utilizing the PRECEDE-PROCEED planning model and the Health Belief Model and Critical Race Theories. Phase I included a survey of 259 student athletes. Phase II involved three focus groups and several in-depth interviews conducted with 18 athletes and four coaches at the same University. When surveyed, most athletes (72.2%; n=187) believed that NCAA mandated SCT testing was “Very Good/Good”. However, qualitative analysis revealed that the NCAA policy has potential to produce health inequities for SCT carriers. The context of organized sport creates unique challenges for health education and promotion including ensuring informed decision making regarding SCT screening among athletes and making key stakeholders aware of unintended health disparities that may result from this policy.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe possible health inequities created by mandatory NCAA sickle cell trait screening policy. Identify challenges for health promotion and education related to educating individuals with rare conditions in unique settings (such as athletics).

Keyword(s): Genetics, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor of Community Health Behavior and Education and have participated in various sickle cell disease studies and national sickle cell disease work groups.
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.