A policy impact analysis of the mandatory NCAA sickle cell trait screening program

Beth A. Tarini, Margaret Alison Brooks, David G. Bundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective To estimate the impact of the mandatory National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sickle cell trait (SCT) screening policy on the identification of sickle cell carriers and prevention of sudden death. Data Source We used NCAA reports, population-based SCT prevalence estimates, and published risks for exercise-related sudden death attributable to SCT. Study Design We estimated the number of sickle cell carriers identified and the number of potentially preventable sudden deaths with mandatory SCT screening of NCAA Division I athletes. We calculated the number of student-athletes with SCT using a conditional probability based upon SCT prevalence data and self-identified race/ethnicity status. We estimated sudden deaths over 10 years based on published attributable risk of exercise-related sudden death due to SCT. Principal Findings We estimate that over 2,000 NCAA Division I student-athletes with SCT will be identified under this screening policy and that, without intervention, about seven NCAA Division I student-athletes would die suddenly as a complication of SCT over a 10-year period. Conclusion Universal sickle cell screening of NCAA Division I student-athletes will identify a substantial number of sickle cell carriers. A successful intervention could prevent about seven deaths over a decade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-461
Number of pages16
JournalHealth services research
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • Sickle cell trait
  • athletes
  • screening
  • sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'A policy impact analysis of the mandatory NCAA sickle cell trait screening program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this