Sickle Cell 101 Launches Summer Sickle Cell Trait Awareness and Hydration Campaign with DPJ Football Camp Partnership

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Sickle Cell 101 launched this year’s Sickle Cell Trait Awareness and Hydration Campaign by partnering with DPJ Football Camp who both have a shared mission to educate on the importance of hydration.

San Francisco, California, July 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The global non-profit organization, Sickle Cell 101 has kicked off this year’s campaign to raise awareness about sickle cell trait and athlete hydration through a partnership with Donovan Peoples-Jones Limitless Foundation Football Camp. This is part of Sickle Cell 101’s annual summer efforts to provide pertinent information and awareness on sickle cell trait, as well as the importance of hydration for all athletes, especially those with sickle cell trait.

In the area of sports and athletics, several athletes have been reported to experience severe exercise exertion while participating in sports due to dehydration, and for some with sickle cell trait, they also experienced rhabdomyolysis/rapid muscle breakdown, resulting in deaths. This has warranted the need for athletes to be proactive and stay informed about the potential complications that can be associated with sickle cell trait.

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Donovan Peoples-Jones(DPJ) is a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns and, although he doesn’t have sickle cell, he is very aware of the challenges and disparities it presents especially since it disproportionately affects individuals of black/African descent. DPJ continues to partner with Sickle Cell 101 in diverse capacities, including the NFL My Cause My Cleats Campaign to improve education, and research funding for sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. As part of the drive to improve proper hydration education for all athletes, including sickle cell trait carriers, DPJ led the charge at his football camp to ensure all the athletes in attendance took hydration breaks between the workouts and drills.

Sickle cell trait is the most common hemoglobin mutation in the world, which evolved to serve as a protective factor against malaria. Sickle cell trait is when an individual has only one copy of the mutated sickle gene and carriers typically don’t experience any complications, unlike those with two copies of the mutated sickle gene also referred to as sickle cell disease. However, there is evolving medical research and evidence showing that, under certain extreme conditions like dehydration, overexertion, low oxygen levels and high altitudes, individuals with sickle cell trait may also experience complications. Thus, athletes at all levels of sports, irrespective of their sickle cell genotype, are encouraged to stay hydrated while participating in sports to help avoid exercise exertion, which can be fatal, especially for those with sickle cell trait, if proper precautions are not taken.

Sickle Cell 101 also encourages everyone to know their sickle cell genotype, regardless of their race or ethnicity. A recent study suggests that only 16% of Americans know their sickle cell genotype as newborn screening and testing across all states in the United States was not mandated until the early 2000s.

Parents, coaches, and families attending the DPJ football camp were able to visit the booth of Sickle Cell 101, where they received educational resources on sickle cell trait. Mr. Krandall Pettway, a camp parent from Dallas, commented: “Having Sickle Cell 101 at this camp is extremely important because it’s all about awareness, especially in our community. This serves as a reminder for us all about the importance of everyone knowing and understanding their sickle cell genotype”.

According to Sickle Cell 101, athletes with sickle cell trait should never be stigmatized or discouraged from participating in sports, with several prominent athletes with sickle cell trait having participated and succeeded in various sports up to the professional level. Proper precautions for sports must be taken for all athletes, not just individuals with sickle cell trait.

“Athletes should be able to have fun and enjoy sports, and we want to be proactive and ensure that sickle cell trait will not be a reason why an athlete gets sidelined and misses out on the sports they love. As an athlete, if you see or feel something isn’t right with your teammate, irrespective of their sickle cell genotype, say something right away and don’t wait. You could save a life,” says Dr. Stephen Boateng, director of research and partnerships and sickle cell trait expert educator at Sickle Cell 101.

The Sickle Cell Trait Awareness and Hydration Campaign by Sickle Cell 101 continues to run for the rest of the summer with various activities and digital educational events that focus on providing evidence-based information about the sickle cell trait, debunking myths, and reinforcing confidence in athletes with sickle cell trait to participate in sports while maintaining proper hydration. The campaign also shares evolving research about potential complications associated with sickle cell trait and hosts webinars and educational sessions on the Sickle Cell 101’s digital platforms that has a combined following of over 50,000 members spread across over 115 countries.

“Our ultimate goal is to empower everyone to stay educated about sickle cell trait and make informed decisions about their health. The sickle cell community is always grateful to have Donovan as a very important voice and advocate for us in diverse ways, especially through his continued partnership with Sickle Cell 101,” concludes Cassandra Trimnell, founder and executive director of Sickle Cell 101.

Media contact:

Name: Cassandra Trimnell

Email: [email protected]

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