Death Blamed on Failure to Test College Athletes Before Track Team Tryouts

The repercussions are still being felt at a North Carolina University where an athlete died after collapsing during the tryouts for his school’s track team. The runner died after collapsing at a college track-and-field tryout on August 19, 2010. In October, the Medical Examiner’s Office cited complications of sickle cell trait and physical exertion as the cause of his death. The NCAA mandated on August 1st, 2010 that all students trying out for sports teams be tested for the sickle cell trait, show proof of a test, or sign a release. According to the NCAA website:

The new rule will be in effect for the 2010-11 academic year. The legislation applies to student -athletes who are beginning their initial season of eligibility and students who are trying out for the team.

According to the report at InjuryBoard, in this collegiate athlete’s case, none of these requirements were met.

News reports recently have revealed that two days before his death, an e-mail was sent to several A&T coaches, including the track coach, asking that sickle cell tests be requested only for students who had made the team, not for students trying out. The reason given was that the tests were too costly. The young athlete’s death could have been avoided, according to a doctor who is an expert on the sickle cell trait and college athletics policy regarding testing for it. For additional details, including ramifications at the college athletic department, click here.

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