Sickle cell trait and sudden death--bringing it home

J Natl Med Assoc. 2007 Mar;99(3):300-5.


Sickle cell trait continues to be the leading cause of sudden death for young African Americans in military basic training and civilian organized sports. The syndrome may have caused the death of up to 10 college football players since 1974 and, as recently as 2000, was suspected as the cause of death of three U.S. Army recruits. The penal military-style boot camps in the United States and the recent death of two teenagers with sickle cell trait merits renewed vigor in the education of athletic instructors, the military and the public about conditions associated with sudden death in individuals with sickle cell trait.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / genetics
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Death, Sudden*
  • Diving / adverse effects
  • Erythrocytes / pathology
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Military Medicine
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sickle Cell Trait / ethnology
  • Sickle Cell Trait / mortality*
  • Sickle Cell Trait / physiopathology
  • Sports
  • United States
  • Vasoconstriction