Athletic Training - Sickle Cell Trait Status

Sickle cell trait is an inherited condition of the oxygen-carrying protein, hemoglobin, in the red blood cells. Sickle cell trait is a common condition affecting over three million Americans. Although sickle cell trait is most predominant in African-Americans and those of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, Caribbean, and South and Central American ancestry, persons of all races and ancestry may test positive for sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait is usually benign, but 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 collapse from the rapid breakdown of muscles starved of blood.

The NCAA mandates that all NCAA student-athletes have knowledge of their sickle cell trait status before the student-athlete participates in any intercollegiate athletics event, including strength and conditioning sessions, practices, competitions, etc.

In order to participate for any ETSU Athletics Team, knowledge of sickle cell trait status MUST be on file in the athletic training room prior to ANY of the above mentioned activities.

Student-athletes have the following options:

  1. If you know your sickle cell trait status, simply have your physician complete the attached form and send to the ETSU Athletic Training Room.
  2. Set up an appointment with your physician or local lab and complete a sickle cell trait test. Once the results are received, send the original documentation to the ETSU Athletic Training Room.
  3. Wait and be tested upon arrival to campus by a lab designated by ETSU Athletics – REMEMBER that all student athletes who do not have documented knowledge of sickle cell trait status are ineligible for any athletic activity until the RESULTS are received in the athletic training room.

It is recommended that all student-athletes and parents/guardians of student-athletes watch the sickle cell trait video found here.

If you currently know your sickle cell trait status please click here. (PDF)

Please bring all forms with you on the date of your scheduled physical exam or mail to

ETSU Sports Medicine
PO Box 70707
Johnson City, TN 37614

Fax Number: (423) 439-5264