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Rhabdomyolysis and Acute Renal Failure in a Sickle Cell Trait Athlete: A Case Study

Shelmadine, Brian D. PhD*; Baltensperger, Austin MD*; Wilson, Ronald L. MD; Bowden, Rodney G. PhD*

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: May 2013 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 235–237
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3182625a37
Case Report

Abstract: This case study reports the clinical details and pathologic mechanisms of a nonfatal case of rhabdomyolysis secondary to heat exhaustion and sickle cell trait (SCT) resulting in acute renal failure. A 19-year-old African American male college football player collapsed after running 5 intervals of 300 m during a preseason conditioning test. After 17 days of treatment, the athlete was released from the hospital to a short-term noncritical care facility for further treatment and dialysis. Scientific literature reports that at least 15 college football players with SCT have died as a result of a sickling crisis after intense physical exertion. This case study presents the clinical importance of prompt medical treatment and sustained low-efficiency dialysis in treating rhabdomyolysis and its sequelae after collapse in an SCT athlete.

*Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, School of Education, Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Central Texas Nephrology Associates, Waco, Texas.

Corresponding Author: Rodney G. Bowden, PhD, School of Education, Baylor University, One Bear Pl #97304, Waco, TX 76798-7304 (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received August 15, 2011

Accepted May 16, 2012

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins