Sickle Cell Trait & Athletes

Ryan Clark Steelers Sickle Cell“Having the sickle cell trait does not exclude an athlete from participating in sports, however, the training staff and coaches need to take precautions to ensure the athlete is not put in dangerous situations.”    Geno Atkins Cincinnati Bengals National Football League

Fall sports season has arrived and just in time for Sickle Cell Awareness Month!

Athletes at all levels, including high school, collegiate, Olympic and professional, can be affected with sickle cell trait. It’s important for athletes to be aware of their sickle cell trait status and take proper precautions during their training and conditioning so they can enjoy a successful and healthy athletic career.

What is Sickle Cell Trait?

Sickle cell trait is not a disease; it is inherited from a person’s parents. People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait usually do not have any of the symptoms of sickle cell disease, but they can pass the trait on to their children. Sickle cell trait affects people of many races and ethnicities, including those of African, Asian, Hispanic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern descent.