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Sickle Cell Trait Testing

Recent legislation passed by the NCAA has brought nationwide attention to the issue of Sickle Cell Trait and its impact on participation in physical activity. As a result, Haverford will be requiring new and returning students to either confirm their status with regard to this condition (by showing a relevant health record or getting tested), or sign a waiver declining to show a previous test result or be tested now. Information on how to choose one of these options is summarized below, and available in more detail on the Moodle site established to take students through the process. It is important to keep in mind that you must enter this site and choose one of the options before returning to campus at the beginning of the fall semester, whether or not you plan to participate in athletics or club sports, and even if you may have completed the Physical Education requirement already. Students can also request sickle cell trait newborn records to be released to the College.  Please forward signed medical release to your doctor/hospital.

General Information on Sickle Cell Trait

Sickle Cell Trait is the inheritance of one gene for sickle hemoglobin and one for normal hemoglobin. Sickle Cell Trait is not the same as Sickle Cell Disease, which is an inherited blood condition that can be found in a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. If a person receives a sickle cell gene from both parents, he/she will inherit Sickle Cell Disease. If, however, he/she inherits only one sickle cell gene, then that person is said to have “Sickle Cell Trait”. Sickle Cell Trait is a life-long condition that will not change over time.  During intense exercise, red blood cells containing the sickle hemoglobin can change shape from round to quarter-moon, or “sickle” shape; these sickled red blood cells may accumulate in the bloodstream and block normal blood flow to the tissues and muscles. During intense exercise, athletes with the Sickle Cell Trait have experienced significant physical distress, collapse or even death. Even when exercise is not intense, other factors such as heat, dehydration, altitude and asthma can increase the risk for, and worsen complications associated with, the Sickle Cell Trait.

As all Haverford students are required to fulfill the Physical Education requirement and many participate in varsity, club or intramural sports, Haverford College recommends that every student be tested, or show proof of prior testing, for the Sickle Cell Trait. Each student should obtain his or her medical records or arrange for the test to be done on his or her own, at his or her own expense. Haverford College will keep students’ test results confidential in accordance with federal and state law, and Haverford College policy, although the Haverford College medical staff, athletic department and coaches will be aware of a student's Sickle Cell Trait status in order to provide optimal care for him or her. If you have the Sickle Cell Trait, it will not affect your ability to play your sport, your standing on a team, or your ability to participate in a physical education program or club or intramural sport.

Your Next Step Each returning Haverford student must either be tested for the Sickle Cell Trait, provide us with proof and the results of a prior test, or sign a waiver declining to be tested. You may wish to check with your family doctor and/or parents to see whether you have test results that are readily available. Your options are outlined on the following site, which includes the possibility of declining to confirm your status as well as information on how you can be tested at Haverford. https://moodle.haverford.edu/course/view.php?id=5616 (Note: you should use Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari as your browser) So to summarize the process, all students must: 1. Go to the Moodle site and read the Sickle Cell Trait Fact Sheet (prepared by the NCAA) 2. Choose to a) confirm your status or b) decline to confirm, print and sign a waiver, and send it to Health Services 3. If you choose b) above, you're done! 4. If you choose a) you will follow the instructions to provide test results or arrange for testing (results to be sent to Health Services) 5. If your test is negative, you're done! 6. If your test is positive, you will sign a waiver, watch an educational video, and then you're done! Many thanks for your cooperation in this important effort. Once you've taken care of this, you will not have to do so again during your time at Haverford.

Questions? Contact Gregory Rosnick at grosnick@haverford.edu or 610-795-6129. Please leave a detailed message and he will return your call.

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