NCAA adopts regulation on sickle cell screening

NCAA adopts regulation on sickle cell screening

Rice News staff

The NCAA’s Division I Legislative Council adopted a measure April 13 that will require student-athletes to be tested for sickle cell trait unless they prove that they have already been tested or sign a waiver releasing an institution from liability if they decline to be tested. The new rule, which goes into effect for the 2010-11 academic year, stems from legislation that was sponsored by Conference USA as part of a settlement between Rice and the parents of former Owl football player Dale Lloyd II.

Rice has been working with the Lloyd family to urge the NCAA to follow Rice’s lead in making sickle cell trait testing mandatory for intercollegiate athletics. Rice follows the sickle cell guidelines promulgated by the National Athletic Trainers Association.

Lloyd was a 19-year-old freshman who died Sept. 25, 2006, after he became ill during a team workout at the football stadium the previous afternoon. An autopsy concluded that his death was caused by acute exertional rhabdomyolysis associated with sickle cell trait, a genetic blood condition.

At the time of Lloyd’s death, NCAA standards for screening college athletes did not require testing for this blood condition. Most Division I-A universities now screen for the condition with a blood test.

Last year the university and the Lloyd family reached resolution of a lawsuit in which Rice agreed to advocate that the NCAA adopt mandatory sickle cell trait testing. Rice also agreed to continue to honor Lloyd’s memory in several ways and has created an athletic scholarship in Lloyd’s honor. Lloyd’s locker was turned into a memorial through the 2009 season, which would have been his senior year, and the team voted to make him an honorary captain. Lloyd’s legacy will live on with a plaque placed in his honor outside the locker room.

The Lloyd family was invited to the Nov. 21, 2009, Senior Day football game, where each Rice football player presented a rose to Lloyd’s mother during a pregame ceremony on the field. The Owls won that game against the University of Texas at El Paso, and the game ball was dedicated to Lloyd and presented to his parents at the senior football banquet. They were also given Lloyd’s framed football jersey and his engraved Texas Bowl ring.

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