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Sickle Cell Test Gets NCAA OK Despite Docs

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has approved mandatory confirmation of sickle cell trait status in Division III student athletes, despite the objections of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

NCAA delegates voted 254 to 200 in favor of the measure at the 2013 NCAA convention over the weekend. Confirmation of sickle cell status will be required of all incoming student athletes in the 2013-2014 school years and for all athletes by 2014-2015. Mandatory sickle cell screening is already required by the NCAA in Division I and Division II athletes.

Last year, ASH challenged the NCAA, declaring that athletes need not be tested for or discloses sickle cell trait status before participating in sporting events. In a statement released over the weekend, ASH said the “NCAA policy is medically groundless perhaps even dangerous and is focused more on protecting the NCAA from legal liability than protecting the health of student athletes.”