GREENSBORO, N.C. - North Carolina A&T State University and Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency have partnered to address the issue of sickle cell trait and related deaths among athletes. They will sponsor a Sickle Cell Awareness Summit on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University on Saturday, September 17 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Memorial Student Union - Stallings Ballroom A. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. This is the first such collaboration in the U.S. and will be a model for other NCAA approved universities and sickle cell community based organizations across the country.
The theme of the Summit is "Sickle Cell Trait: Dispelling the
Myths." The event will include an educational and counseling workshop
and free sickle cell testing. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. The Summit is being held for college and school athletic personnel, college athletes, high and middle school athletes, parents of athletes and other persons affiliated with athletics.
The workshop objectives are to (1) improve the knowledge of sickle
cell disease and sickle cell trait (2) learn the difference between sickle cell trait and disease (3) Dispel myths about the trait (4) train participants to be able to work with students and families, teammates, coaching staff and other athletic officials with the sickle cell trait and
(5) provide a resource list of where to refer athletes and others for testing and counseling.
Presenters at the Summit will be nationally recognized sickle cell experts (hematologists, physicians, certified sickle cell counselors). The facilitator and curriculum developer will be Anita Holmes, JD, MPH, former director of education for Duke University's Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program; developer of the first Sickle Lay Health Education Program in North Carolina; and Director of Heart, Stroke and Disease Program for North Carolina.
The Sickle Cell Awareness Summit is being sponsored by N.C. A&T Athletics, Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency, and A&T Sebastian Health Center. It is free and open to the public. All participants are encouraged to pre-register for the event. To register visit ncataggies.com and look for the "Sickle Cell Trait Dispelling the Myths" link, or call (336) 334-7686 for more information.
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. It causes symptoms ranging from pain, to organ damage, to anemia. In the United States, sickle cell disease is most prevalent among African Americans, although it can be found in people of all races. About one in 12 African Americans carries the sickle cell trait, which means they are carriers of the disease. In addition, one of every 400 African Americans has sickle cell disease. People of Hispanic and Asian descent are also disproportionately affected by the disease.
Individuals who have sickle cell trait (SCT) do not have painful episodes under normal physiologic conditions and have a normal life expectancy. The inheritance of SCT should have no impact on career choices or lifestyle. SCT is found in eight percent of African Americans and is also prevalent in persons of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, Caribbean, and Central and South American descent.
For more information on sickle cell disease, contact PHSSCA at (336)
274-1507 or www.piedmonthealthservices.org.