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Bryn Mawr College Sickle Cell Trait Policy

BACKGROUND/INTRODUCTION: A number of exercise-related sudden deaths of college athletes have been linked to sickle cell trait.  Although sickle cell trait is a common condition that is usually benign, during intense, sustained exercise, hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in the muscles may cause sickling of red blood cells (red blood cells changing from a normal disc shape to a crescent or “sickle” shape), which can accumulate in the bloodstream and “logjam” blood vessels, leading to a collapse form the rapid breakdown of muscle starved of blood.  Extreme exertion, increased heat, altitude and dehydration can aggravate this otherwise benign condition. Unless screened, most carriers and their families remain unaware whether they possess this trait.  The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires that, before the first season during which they are eligible to compete, each Division III student- athlete must either be tested for sickle cell trait or sign a waiver indicating that they have made an informed decision to decline such testing.

  • Please see the below website from more information regarding sickle cell trait including the NCAA fact sheet:

POLICY:  Effective August 2013,  a student-athlete will not be eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics at for Bryn Mawr College unless they have submitted the results of a sickle cell test, or has signed a waiver indication that they have read the educational materials attached to the waiver and declined testing.  It is preferred that all student-athletes are tested so that they know their status, which will help them to protect their health and well-being during participation in athletics.  The College strongly advises all student-athletes to consult with their parent or guardian before signing the waiver.  If the student is a minor, the signature of the student’s parent or legal guardian is required. Documentation will be kept in the student’s medical record.  Testing costs are the responsibility of the student-athlete.

*One of the following options must be chosen.  Include any documentation if necessary:

  • Copy of athlete’s newborn sickle cell testing result attached.  _______ Date: _______
    *Most states require testing at birth, check with your hospital or pediatrician
  • Copy of recent sickle cell screening test result attached. ________ Date: _________
    *Cost of testing is the responsibility of the athlete
  • Sign a Sickle Cell Testing Waiver form.  Follow the link below to the waiver form and have it completed and submitted to the athletic training department prior to participating in any Bryn Mawr College athletic activities.

           Sickle Cell Testing Waiver Form