To estimate the impact of the mandatory National Collegiate Athletic Association () sickle cell trait () screening policy on the identification of sickle cell carriers and prevention of sudden death.
We used reports, population‐based prevalence estimates, and published risks for exercise‐related sudden death attributable to SCT.
We estimated the number of sickle cell carriers identified and the number of potentially preventable sudden deaths with mandatory screening of 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.
We estimate that over 2,000 Division I student‐athletes with SCT will be identified under this screening policy and that, without intervention, about seven Division I student‐athletes would die suddenly as a complication of over a 10‐year period.
Universal sickle cell screening of Division I student‐athletes will identify a substantial number of sickle cell carriers. A successful intervention could prevent about seven deaths over a decade.