What is SCT

 

What is SCT

  • Sickle cell trait is an inherited blood disorder that affects 1 million to 3 million Americans and 8 to 10 percent of African Americans. Sickle cell trait can also affect Hispanics, South Asians, Caucasians from southern Europe, and people from Middle Eastern countries. More than 100 million people worldwide have sickle cell trait.
  • Unlike sickle cell disease, a serious illness in which patients have two genes that cause the production of abnormal hemoglobin (the substance in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen), individuals with sickle cell trait carry only one defective gene and typically live normal lives. Rarely, extreme conditions such as severe dehydration and high-intensity physical activity can lead to serious health issues, including sudden death, for individuals with sickle cell trait.
  • If an individual has sickle cell trait, it means that he or she carries or has inherited a single copy of the gene that causes sickle cell disease. It is not a disease. In general, people with sickle cell trait enjoy normal life spans with no medical problems related to sickle cell trait.
  • Sickle cell trait can never become sickle cell disease. It is possible, however, for individuals with sickle cell trait to pass the gene to their children.
  • All newborns in the United States are now tested for sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. Sickle cell disease can be identified before birth by testing a sample of amniotic fluid or tissue from the placenta. People who carry the sickle cell gene can seek genetic counseling before pregnancy to discuss options. All newborns in the United States are now tested for sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. Sickle cell disease can be identified before birth by testing a sample of amniotic fluid or tissue from the placenta. People who carry the sickle cell gene can seek genetic counseling before pregnancy to discuss options.

 

SCT and the Athlete

Some people with SCT have been shown to be more likely than those without SCT to experience heat stroke and muscle breakdown when doing intense exercise, such as competitive sports or military training under unfavorable temperatures( very high or low) or conditions. Studies have shown that the chance of this problem can be reduced by avoiding dehydration and getting too hot during training. People with SCT who participate in competitive or team sports (i.e. student athletes) should be careful when doing training or conditioning activities. To prevent illness it is important to:

  • Set your own pace and build your intensity slowly.
  • Rest often in between repetitive sets and drills.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after training and conditioning activities.
  • Keep the body temperature cool when exercising in hot and humid temperatures by misting the body with water or going to an air conditioned area during breaks or rest periods.
  • Immediately seek medical care when feeling ill.

 

Recommendations on Screening of Student Athletes for SCT

Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (SACHDNC) to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Screening of Student Athletes for Sickle Cell Trait
Source: www.cdc.gov

 

SCT Signs and Symptoms

Most people with sickle cell trait have no symptoms and will not have any health complications. Occasionally people with sickle cell trait can have blood in their urine. Under extreme conditions such as high altitude, severe dehydration, or very high intensity physical activity, red cells can become deformed or sickled.


Sickle Cell Trait- Exertional Sickling in Athletes:

Complications include muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis), reduced blood supply to the spleen (ischemia/infarction), or increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma) following eye injuries. Finally, a very rare form of kidney cancer (renal medullary carcinoma) has been associated with sickle cell trait.

Source: www.hematology.org

Sickle Cell Trait

Sickle Cell Trait

SCT and the Athlete

Geno Atkins

“Having the sickle cell trait does not exclude an athlete from participating in sports, however, the training staff and coaches need to take precautions to ensure the athlete is not put in dangerous situations.”

~Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals National Football League