G-38 Free Communication/Poster - Medical Issues in Sport: JUNE 4, 2011 7:30 AM - 11:00 AM: ROOM: Hall B
Screening for sickle cell trait (SCT) in athletes has been recommended by several professional organizations; however, it is not known how many colleges and universities have implemented screening of athletes.
PURPOSE: To survey factors related to policies and procedures of SCT screening at colleges and universities, including all divisions of the NCAA and NAIA athletic programs.
METHODS: An on-line survey regarding SCT testing policies was sent to the head athletic trainer or director of sports medicine at 1384 NCAA and NAIA institutions.
RESULTS: A total of 375 schools responded (NCAA D-I = 130, D-II = 74, D-III = 122, NAIA = 49) for a response rate of 27%. Our results show that 21.8% of the institutions surveyed screened all of their athletes for SCT, with Division I institutions having the highest rate of screening at 44.6%. A total of 30.1% of the institutions indicated they screened some of their athletes, with 66.9% of Division I institutions having the highest incidence. Over 26% of institutions did not know if any of their athletes had SCT. Overall, 57% of the institutions counsel athletes about complications of SCT, and 40% of the institutions modify workouts for the athletes. Division I institutions had the highest incidences with 87.7% providing counseling and 66.1% modifying workouts. The most common criteria for screening are race/ethnicity and family history of SCT. When asked reasons for not screening all athletes, 71.6% of all institutions surveyed indicated cost was the primary reason.
CONCLUSIONS: Screening for SCT remains a relatively uncommon practice in colleges and universities, particularly in NCAA Divisions II, III and NAIA institutions. Institutions reported the cost of testing was overwhelmingly the primary reason for not screening all athletes for SCT.