Sudden death in sickle cell patients

March 15, 2011


This just in….Another student athlete has died. Robert Garza, 16, died during an AAU basketball game Saturday in South Texas.

A while back sports officials wanted to make testing for sickle cell disease a requirement for football players due the deaths of the football players in Florida and Ohio. Players and parents were against it because they thought it was a form of discrimination. But, sudden death is a real concern. Over the last two weeks two high school students have died due to exertion and heart related issues. So, sickle cell trait is not the only condition that can lead to sudden death in students.

Take care of our athletes

Wes Leonard, 17, had a heart condition that lead to his collapse on the basketball court at a basketball game in Fennville, MI. And, according to fox sports Sarah Landauer, 17, a high school student from Florida, collapsed last Wednesday during track practice and was pronounced dead a short time later.

We have to insist on better athletic check-ups for our kids. Every year, schools require parents to get physicals from their family doctor before they will allow students to play sports. We get the physicals because we know its important and it’s a requirement. What does the doctor check for? Why does he miss a heart condition? Why shouldn’t he make sure the child doesn’t have sickle cell trait? We should be holding the doctors accountable. I suggest when you get your child athlete checked, insist the doctor run a full battery of tests not just the “typical tests” but an EKG and an MRI. No one expects their child to die from playing sports because of a condition they didn’t even know they had. That should never happen to a parent.

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One Comment on “Sudden death in sickle cell patients”

  1. SomerEmpress Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! Rena, thanks for raising the awareness about sickle cell, and dissecting the plethora of information out there on the subject. I have relatives with the disease and the trait, so I am most empathetic; however, it can be difficult to wade through all the information out there. Your blog synthesizes some of the information in a very user-friendly format. Thank you! We should definitely insist on thorough athletic check-ups. I’m all on it!


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