The Military College of South Carolina
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Sickle Cell Screening Test

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a debilitating blood disorder which is typically identified in newborn infants by a routine screening test (mandatory in all states). SCD is an inherited condition in which red blood cells change shape ("sickle") under certain conditions. The result can be episodes of pain, damage to vital organs such as the lungs and kidneys, and even death. SCD is a disqualifying condition for military service.

Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) is a much milder condition in which individuals normally have no symptoms at all. However there is a risk for severe illness during extreme environmental situations; e.g., high altitude climbing or maximal exertion during hot, humid weather with inadequate fluid intake. Evidence suggests that the risk of exercise-related sudden death is 10 to 30 times higher among those with SCT than the general population. Some recent, high-profile cases among college football players have prompted a change to NCAA rules. Beginning in 2010, the NCAA encourages colleges and universities fielding Division I teams to offer testing for SCT for their athletes. In the United States, more than 2 million people have SCT (8% of blacks, 0.5% of Hispanics, and 0.2% of whites); the vast majoritydon't know they have the condition.

The Citadel recommends Sickle Cell screening (blood test) for all Division I NCAA athletes. It can be administered before or after arrival on campus. The test is also available for non-athletes who wish to discover whether they have SCT.

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