OK, now this is just me airing some of my frustration about genetic traits! If you follow football, and professional football at that,you have heard that Ryan Clark is not playing in the playoff game versus the Broncos this weekend because he has Sickle Cell Trait! What frustrates me about this is this makes people assume that just because you have Sickle Cell Trait that you are going to have trouble at altitude. WRONG!!!!! There was something else that contributed to the situation that happened in 2007, along with the 18 deaths of college athletes since 2000. Now, I am saddened that 18 people have lost their lives and that Clark got sick while playing in Denver. But that it because of Sickle Cell Trait is not founded. Yes, it could be a contributor but what is to say that they were not hydrated enough, over heating, or there was something else.
Why am I so admit about this, because I was an athlete, who was very competitive and grew up competing in Colorado, at ALL elevations. I ran cross country and track, snowboarded, skied, played basketball, and soccer. I did all of this while having Sickle Cell Trait. We did not know about it nor did we ever suspect that I would have it. It was not until I had Zane that we found out that I was a carrier. See, Zane is also a carrier. What does this mean...well, first that the insurance company put a wavier on him because he has Sickle Cell Trait. Second, what if he is a good enough athlete to play in NCAA, he may be denied because he has Sickle Cell Trait. Why should someone who has Sickle Cell Trait be denied the chance to play or do things. They do not know why some people who are carriers have adverse reactions and others don't. There is no explanation. This could happen to anyone. We need to just make sure that we are listening to our bodies, when we need a break take one! That we stay hydrated! Drink water, not the sugar waters that they say are so good for athletes (Gatorade, Power Aid, and the likes are not good for you, water them 1/4 sugar water and 3/4 water would be much better, flavor it and give you some of the nutritional value that it may contain). If it is too hot, you should not be playing a game or practicing anyway. All of what I just stated is what EVERY ATHLETE should be doing anyway. Coaches, yes they need to be tough, but they also need to listen to the players who know their bodies best. The coaches will find out very quickly if it is an excuse or if the player is for real. Dehydration, heat stroke, and not listening to bodies can cause ANY healthy, able bodied athlete to get seriously sick and even die, not just those with Sickle Cell Trait.
Here is an article that does a good job stating that not every Sickle Cell Carrier is at risk and talks more about Ryan Clark.