Student athletes required to test for sickle cell disease

Picture of Athletic Training Room full of students

Quincy University will now require all student athletes to provide medical confirmation that they do not have sickle cell disease. Some student athletes were informed after moving on to campus, leaving them to find a way to fulfill the medical confirmation requirements. This was mandated by QU after an NCAA decision stating that athletes are now no longer able to just sign a waiver stating they do not have sickle cell.

“Because of COVID happening and that virus, they thought it was best to then go back and just make sure with the sickle cell testing results that if anyone had tested positive for it they were not practicing or competing. They just didn’t want to put any more people at risk if they didn’t need to. There were already some states, like the state of Missouri, those Missouri schools that are in the Missou-system have been doing it for however many years. So they wanted to get everyone else in line with doing it, just having those results on file,”  Taylor Zerbe, assistant athletic director for NCAA compliance, said. 

Some athletes were able to get medical confirmation by simply calling their primary physician for medical verification that they do not have sickle cell. Or they were able to get a doctor’s order to get the blood work done using an insurance covered testing site. 

“It was like in the middle of the summer, coach told us that we had to get a sickle cell test. So I went to my doctor, basically I got my physical and all that stuff done. They just did some bloodwork, just got the blood to do the sickle cell test, and that was it,” Terrance Smith, a football student athlete, said.

The athletic department did have testing on-campus for athletes in the Health and Fitness Center athletic training room. However, the athletes that chose to utilize that had to pay 50 dollars in cash in order to get their bloodwork done. But not all athletes had to pay to get this testing done in Quincy. 

“There was a specific day that they were doing the sickle cell test for free over at Quincy Medical Group, in the hospital they were doing physicals and sickle cell tests for free,” Benjamin Gippleh said. 

Gippleh mentioned that most of his team, the football team, got their medical testing done when they came back on campus, which is before the normal move in time because of the early collegiate football season start date. 

Picture of Quincy Medical Group billing statement
Quincy Medical Group billing statement of sickle cell testing for an international student athlete.

Others later on went to the same place, Quincy Medical Group, after being informed of the testing requirement. After the time period when teams like football moved in, the service was no longer free. That left some students, especially international students, with medical bills for the test. 

International student athletes often must pay out of pocket for a physical every year, depending on what country they are from. This school year some had to pay for a physical along with the sickle cell testing in the first couple weeks of returning to school. 

Billing Statement of Physical with no insurance applied.
Billing statement from international student athlete who went to Quincy Medical Group for a physical exam.
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