(506A) Student-Athletes: Medical Policy

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Updated 7/15


The Kansas Athletics Sports Medicine Program’s goal is to deliver the highest quality health care to its student-athletes by providing injury/illness prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation services while maximizing athletic performance.  Through this health care and preventative education, the Kansas Athletics’ Sports Medicine Program strives to become a leader for sports medical services in Kansas, the Big 12 Conference, and the NCAA.

Guiding Principles
  • Provide comprehensive and state-of-the-art health care and wellness services
  • Provide professional leadership and counseling to student-athletes
  • Promote character development, leadership and sportsmanship
  • Create a trusting environment through good communication, dependability and professionalism
  • Develop interactive partnerships with the campus and community allied health professionals to allow optimum access and service for student-athletes
  • Consistently provide high-level professionalism and patient satisfaction
  • Maintain fiscal and operational integrity through sound management practices
  • Function at high levels of accountability and productivity in all initiatives, programs and operations
  • Cooperate and work together as a team to attain recognized excellence
  • Conduct interpersonal and group relationships with honesty and integrity
  • Value each individual’s contributions, knowledge and expertise
  • Strive for excellence in all facets of the department
  • Commit to continuous improvement
  • Provide an educational opportunity for undergraduate athletic training students
  • Support the mission, goals, and objectives of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the University as a whole

Sports Medicine Philosophy and Objectives

Kansas Athletics’ Sports Medicine Program embodies a commitment to patient care and education of the student-athlete.

  • The health of the student-athlete shall always be our first consideration.  By allowing student-athletes timely access to our sports medicine services and by placing a high value on health and wellness, we will reduce the risk of athletic injury while assisting injured student-athletes to a medically safe return  to competition in a timely manner.
  • We will continually evaluate our Sports Medicine program to ensure our student-athletes have the highest quality sports medicine care.
  • We will address problems and concerns regarding the Sports Medicine Department in a timely manner to ensure the needs of our student-athletes and employees are continually met.

Kansas Athletics’ Sports Medicine Program delivers comprehensive Allied Health services performed by providers licensed and/or certified by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts to the student-athletes at the University of Kansas.  Below is a list of providers that make up the

Sports Medicine Department:

  • Full-time Head Team Physician
  • Full-time Team Physician’s Assistant
  • Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician(s)
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Team Physician(s)
  • Consulting Medical Specialist(s)
  • Full-time Athletic Trainers (10)
  • Part-time Athletic Trainers (4)
  • Full-time Sports Nutritionist
  • Full-time Sports Psychologist
  • Physical Therapy services
  • Massage Therapy services
  • Full-time Administrative Specialist

We are committed to using scientifically based and safe technologies currently available and affordable in the delivery of these services. We will remain committed to the continuous upgrading of the education and clinical skill development of our staff as well as our equipment so that our student-athletes will be assured of the most modern and progressive care available in the country.

The Head Team Physician oversees the Sports Medicine Program, which consists of the Director of Sports Medicine, the Physician’s Assistant, the Athletic Training staff, a Sports Nutritionist, and a Sport Psychologist.

Privacy Policy

Written authorizations are required for disclosure of any health related information for  student-athletes.  Authorizations must be on Kansas Athletics Sports Medicine approved forms with the student-athlete’s signature.  If a student-athlete is a minor (under age 18) the student-athlete’s parent’s signature will be required.  A student-athlete may revoke an authorization at any time, provided the revocation is in writing.

Medical Care

Kansas Athletics offers an extensive sports medicine program.  The program’s goals are to prevent injuries whenever possible and to offer a treatment rehabilitation program when necessary.  The Sports Medicine staff has a personal interest in each student-athlete and his/her well being. In order to best serve student-athletes, it is vital that all injuries and illnesses are reported, whether athletically related or not, to the staff as soon as possible.  This must be done in person at the Athletic Training Room in Nesmith Student-Athlete Center or Anderson Family Football Complex.

Physical Examinations

Kansas Athletics requires all incoming freshmen and transfer students to undergo a physical evaluation and examination performed by a Kansas Athletics Sports Medicine team physician before participating in the intercollegiate sports program.  In addition, all upperclassmen undergo a yearly check-up and review any previous injury or medical diagnosis.  A completed record of the physical shall be on file in the Athletic Training Room.

Documentation of Previous Injury

All student-athletes are required to complete the Sports Medicine Health History form describing previous injuries and past medical history.  If a student-athlete has sustained injuries to his/her head, neck, back, shoulder, knee, ankle or internal organs, or has had fractures, dislocations, severe sprains, surgery or any other major health-related problem prior to enrollment at the University of Kansas , he/she is required to note this on the information card.  Kansas Athletics will not take responsibility for any pre-existing injury which has not been properly rehabilitated or documented.

Previous injuries not fully rehabilitated may disqualify a student-athlete from participation until approval is received from the Kansas Athletics Head Team Physician.  If a student-athlete is under the care of a physician not associated with the University of Kansas, written permission from that physician must be received by the Sports Medicine staff indicating when the student-athlete may resume activity and if any limitations exist.  However, the final determination regarding athletics participation rests with the Head Team Physician.

Treatment of Athletically Related Injuries and Illnesses

Student-athletes must report all injuries or illnesses (including those NOT athletically related) that might interfere with their ability to practice or participate in their sport to the Kansas Athletics athletic training staff, Director of Sports Medicine, or team physician. If the injury occurred during practice or competition, the student-athlete should see the team’s Athletic Trainer as soon as possible.  At that time, an evaluation is performed to determine the extent of his/her injury and his/her ability to practice or compete that day.  If necessary, referral to a team physician may be made at this time.  Kansas Athletics is not responsible for the medical consequences and/or financial liability incurred by students who obtain treatment that has not been preauthorized by the Head Team Physician or the Director of Sports Medicine.

While the sports medicine program is responsible for the treatment of only athletically related injuries and illnesses, it is important that the staff be notified of any injury or illness that might affect sports participation.

Injuries sustained during summer league play are not covered by Kansas Athletics.

Should a student-athlete become injured or ill while traveling with the team and the student-athlete is not able to return with the team due to this injury or illness, the team athletic trainer or other designed Kansas Athletics representative, shall remain with the student-athlete until the student-athlete is able to safely return to campus.  At the determination of the Head Team Physician and taking in consideration the health of the student-athlete, alternate transportation for the return of the student-athlete may be arranged. The athletic trainer or representative may return to campus if the student-athlete is released to the care of a parent or guardian.

Routine Health Care

Treatment for non-athletically related illnesses and injuries is obtained through the Watkins Health Center.  For services including urgent care, radiology, physical therapy, pharmacy, counseling, call Watkins Health Care Center at 785-864-9500.

Emergency Treatment

If a life-threatening injury or emergency situation occurs during practice or competition, the coach or athletic trainer will see that the student-athlete is transported quickly to the nearest appropriate treatment facility.

For all other emergencies, dial 911.

Rehabilitation Care

Rehabilitation is available to all student-athletes currently enrolled at KU.

Preventative Taping, Wrapping or Bracing

Preventative measures such as taping, wrapping or bracing are prescribed at the discretion of the coach and/or athletic trainer.  Student-athletes will be informed at the beginning of the season whether they need to follow these preventative measures, which methods to use, and what procedures to follow.

Athletic Training Rooms

The Athletic Training Room facility available to student-athletes is located on the ground floor of Wagnon Student Athlete Center or basement level at Anderson Family Football Complex.

The Athletic Training Room is generally open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm, and may be open as early as 5:45 a.m. and as late as midnight depending on sport needs. Coverage on weekends, summer, and holidays is based on sport needs.  Hours for the remaining facilities are arranged according to the availability of Athletic Training staff and the needs of the student-athletes. If the student-athlete is unable to keep a doctor’s or athletic trainer’s appointment, the student-athlete must call and cancel the appointment.

Team Physicians Athletic Training Room Schedule

Training Room schedules for Team Physicians may vary each semester based on physician availability.  Appointments to see the physicians may be made by speaking with an athletic trainer.  Physicians see athletes on a first-come first-served basis unless a class examination/conflict exists and prior notification is given.  If the student-athlete is unable to keep a doctor’s or athletic trainer’s appointment, the student-athlete must call and cancel the appointment.

Training Room Rules

The following is a list of rules that must be adhered to if the Athletic Training Room is to be effective in its role of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries.  Student-athletes are expected to abide by these rules.  Disciplinary action will be taken when violations occur.

  1. No horseplay is allowed.
  2. The Training Room operates on a first-come, first-served basis.  Student-athletes are encouraged to come early if they want to avoid a rush.  Student-athletes are never late for practice because they were detained in the Athletic Training Room; they simply didn’t get to the Athletic Training Room early enough.
  3. Report all injuries as soon as possible to your team certified athletic trainer.  New injuries or illnesses must be reported immediately to allow the Athletic Trainers to report the student-athlete’s prognosis to the coaching staff.
  4. Student-athletes are responsible for getting taping or treatments done in time for all meetings and practices.
  5. All treatments given after practice are only administered after showers.
  6. Injured players are expected to report to each practice session.  There is no excuse for missing a meeting or practice unless it is an emergency.  Injuries requiring missed practice time must be excused by the team physician, Director of Sports Medicine, staff Athletic Trainer, or an Assistant Athletic Trainer.
  7. Student-athletes shall continue all treatment until they are medically released.  Do not stop treatments just because the injury feels better.
  8. Do not handle any of the treatment modalities.  All treatments are administered by the Athletic Training Room staff.
  9. Student-athletes are to use the Athletic Training Room for treatment only.  No team meetings or study halls are allowed.  The Athletic Training Room is not a club.  The only reason to be in the in the Athletic Training Room is if the student-athlete has business with an Athletic Trainer.

10.       No interviews are permitted in the Athletic Training Room.

  1. No cell phones are permitted in the Athletic Training Room.
  2. Abusive behavior or language is not tolerated.
  3. The Athletic Training Room is the medical center of Kansas Athletics.  Help keep this area clean and orderly.  No food or drinks are allowed in the treatment or rehabilitation area of the Athletic Training Room.
  4. The Training Rooms are co-ed.  Student-athletes must wear appropriate clothing.

15.       No football or multi-cleated shoes of any kind are to be worn in the Athletic Training Room.
16.       No supplies should be removed from the Athletic Training Room without an Athletic Trainer’s permission.
17.       The Athletic Training Room phones and computers are for business use only.
18.       Student Athletic Trainers should be treated with the same respect due to any regular staff member.
19.       Injuries not sustained during team functions are not the responsibility of Kansas Athletics.


Training Room Access

Outside of current student-athletes competing, there are others that have access to the Training Room:

  • Student-Athlete completed eligibility but still in school:
    • Injury sustained when eligible: Kansas Athletics will provide first aid and pay costs associated with treatment.
    • New, post-eligibility injury, non-Kansas Athletics: Kansas Athletics will provide first aid only and pay no costs associated with injury.
    • Illness:  Kansas Athletics will provide first aid only and pay no costs associated with illness.
    • Student-Athlete completing eligibility in Fall Semester will still have access to Training Room during Spring Semester of same academic year for ongoing treatment of injury sustained when eligible or ongoing medical treatment for illnesses diagnosed during eligibility.
  • Completed eligibility, out of school – No access to training room.
  • Medically disqualified, still in school:
  • Ongoing treatment for injury sustained when eligible: Kansas Athletics will provide first aid and pay costs associated with treatment of that injury.
  • New, post-disqualification injury:  Kansas Athletics shall provide first aid only and shall not cover any costs associated with injury.
  • Illness:  Kansas Athletics will provide first aid only and pay no costs associated with illness.
  • Former KU athlete on campus for camps or off-season training:  Kansas Athletics will provide first aid only and pay no costs associated with injury.
  • Kansas Athletics athletes turned professional, but still in school:  Kansas Athletics will provide first aid only and pay no costs associated with injury.
  • Non-Kansas Athletics athlete (NCAA eligible or not) working out at invitation of coach:  Kansas Athletics will provide first aid only and pay no costs associated with injury.
  • Coaches/Staff: At discretion of trainers/physicians (short-term only)

Medical Expenses

Student-athletes must report any athletically related illness or injury to their team’s Athletic Trainer or the Director of Sports Medicine before Kansas Athletics can assist with any associated medical expenses.

Coverage provided by Kansas Athletics must be in compliance with Big 12 and NCAA regulations.

Unless the Director of Sports Medicine recommends otherwise, the Athletic Training Room is to be utilized for all athletically related treatments.  All related medical bills and prescription expenses must be approved for payment by the Director of Sports Medicine in accordance with Kansas Athletics, Big 12, and NCAA regulations.

Permissible Medical Expenses

Identified medical expense benefits incidental to a student’s participation in intercollegiate athletics that may be financed by the institution are:

  • Athletics’ medical insurance;
  • Death and dismemberment insurance for travel connected with intercollegiate athletics competition and practice;
  • Outpatient drug-rehabilitation expenses;
  • Outpatient counseling expenses related to the treatment of eating disorders;
  • Special individual expenses resulting from a permanent disability that precludes further athletics participation.  The illness or injury producing the disability must involve a former student-athlete or have occurred while the student-athlete was enrolled at the institution, or while the prospective student-athlete was on an official paid visit to the institution’s campus.  An institution or outside agency, or both, may raise money through donations, benefits or like activities to assist the student-athlete or a prospective student-athlete.  All funds secured shall be controlled by the institution, and the money shall be used exclusively to meet these expenses;
  • Glasses, contact lenses or protective eye wear (e.g., goggles) for student-athletes who require visual correction in order to participate in intercollegiate athletics;
  • All approved medical examinations for enrolled student-athletes incurred as a result of an athletically related injury or illness;
  • Expenses for medical treatment incurred by a student-athlete as a result of an athletically related injury.    Medical documentation shall be available to support the necessity of the treatment;
  • Surgical expenses to a student-athlete  who is injured during the academic year while participating in voluntary physical activities that will prepare the student-athlete for competition;
  • Medication and physical therapy utilized by a student-athlete to enable the individual to participate in intercollegiate athletics.

Kansas Athletics does not assume any financial responsibility for medical treatment obtained without a referral from a Team Physician.  If a second opinion is requested, pre-authorization by the Director of Sports Medicine is required if it is to be paid for by Kansas Athletics.

Dental Care

Kansas Athletics will pay for dental injuries received or aggravated during formal practice or competition.  All dental injuries should be reported to the Athletic Training Room staff as soon as possible. Kansas Athletics will not pay for routine dental care such as cavities, cleanings, etc.

Corrective Lenses

Corrective lenses are not routinely furnished by Kansas Athletics.  However, contact lenses or sports goggles may be provided if it is determined by the Director of Sports Medicine that they are necessary for intercollegiate athletics participation.  Kansas Athletics will not be responsible for glasses or frames used for everyday activities.

Insurance Coverage

Kansas Athletics strongly recommends that student-athletes carry their own primary health insurance to cover injuries and illness not covered by Kansas Athletics.  Walk-on student-athletes must have primary insurance coverage in order to participate in intercollegiate athletics at the University of Kansas.

Kansas Athletics has secondary insurance to cover athletically related injuries.  This policy requires that, if injured, the student-athlete first file a claim with his/her primary medical insurance carrier. Any expenses not covered may then be paid under the Kansas Athletics policy, subject to its limitations and conditions.  All documents from the primary carrier which denies coverage (denial documents) must be forwarded by the student-athlete or his/her parents as soon as possible to the Sports Medicine Staff.

Prior to the beginning of each new academic year, a cover letter, insurance questionnaire and a summary statement of Kansas Athletics insurance coverage are sent to the parents of all student-athletes.  The questionnaire requests information regarding health insurance coverage, along with a copy of the student-athlete’s insurance card and a signed, current claim form, and must be on file in the Athletic Training Room prior to athletic participation in order for the student-athlete to be covered by Kansas Athletics.

Coverage is available only for injuries that occur during participation in the student-athlete’s intercollegiate sport or in supervised practice or training sessions for that sport.

Filing a Claim

When a student-athlete is referred to a physician or other “provider of service” (e.g. hospital, or other health care provider) outside the Sports Medicine Program and the Student Health Service for a condition which is covered by Kansas Athletics, the student-athlete must take his/her primary insurance information.
Once the primary insurance company responds to the claim with either a denial or payment of the bill, the student-athlete or his/her parents must forward the following to the Sports Medicine Staff:

1.         The itemized bill from each provider of service indicating services provided and the current balance.
2.         The insurance company’s Explanation of the Benefit (EOB), which details the amount of its payment for the claim.

Upon receipt of these forms, the Sports Medicine staff will promptly submit them along with a claim form to the secondary insurance company.

The potential involvement of two separate insurers can make the entire process of filing and tracking a claim from origination to completion a long, time-consuming process.  Kansas Athletics will be more than happy to help in this process, but the student-athlete and his/her family must remain aware that it is their responsibility to initiate the claim with their primary insurer and to promptly forward records to Kansas Athletics.  If a claim is denied by either the primary or secondary insurer because of delays by the student-athlete or his/her family, Kansas Athletics will not be responsible for the balance. 

Post-Eligibility Insurance Coverage

Kansas Athletics realizes that certain injuries which are the result of intercollegiate athletics participation may require additional medical attention after a student-athlete has exhausted his or her eligibility.  Therefore, secondary insurance coverage is provided for up to 104 weeks from the onset of a student-athlete’s injury.  This coverage is dependent upon documentation of the injury, reasonable adherence to medical advice during rehabilitation, and no further evidence of post-competition re-injury.  Each case will be individually reviewed for strict adherence to these guidelines.

Nutritional Supplements Use by Athletes

Kansas Athletics believes that optimizing a student-athlete’s performance depends on many factors, one of the most important of which is maintaining proper nutrition.  To that end, the monitoring of nutritional supplements is an important component of proper nutrition.

A growing number of nutritional supplements are marketed to athletes.   The NCAA has banned certain ingredients found in many of these nutritional supplements.  Minimal regulation of these supplements by the federal government greatly increases the risk of contamination.    In order to provide the safest possible care and in order to monitor potential drug/supplement interactions, the sports medicine staff must be informed of all nutritional supplements taken by the student-athlete.  To that end, all student-athletes will be required to submita Nutritional Supplement Waiver form to the Sports Nutritionist or Team Physician.  On this form, the student-athlete will declare that any supplement(s) they take is at their own risk and it is the responsibility of that student athlete to have any supplement(s), other than those provided by Kansas Athletics, reviewed by the Sports Nutritionist or Team Physician to determine if the supplement(s) are safe to consume and free of any NCAA banned ingredients.

Coaches are not permitted to suggest or provide any nutritional supplements.  Any supplement provided for athletes by Kansas Athletics must be approved by the Team Physician or the Sports Nutritionist.  The Sports Medicine and Strength & Conditioning staff will be informed of all supplements being used by student-athletes.

NCAA Guidelines for providing supplements to athletes:

Unless prescribed by physician to treat a current condition
Vitamins and Minerals
Energy bars
Calorie-replacement drinks
Electrolyte-replacement drinks(none of these may contain more than 30% protein)
Amino acids
Creatine/products containing creatine
Protein powders greater than 30% protein
Fish Oil

Weight Management

One of the goals of sports medicine is to provide the finest health care necessary for optimal athletic performance.  In order to do this, there must be a science-based approach to weight management which emphasizes healthy, performance-enhancing eating and de-emphasizes body image.  This is done with a performance team consisting of team physicians, sports nutritionist, certified athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, and a sports psychologist as needed.

Body Composition / Weight

  1. Body weight information will be available to the athlete, sports medicine staff, strength and conditioning staff, and coaching staff.  This information is confidential.  (Exception:  Initial preseason weight may be released for media guide in some sports such as football and basketball, providing the student-athlete has signed a valid consent for the release of such information.)  The athlete may share this information with anyone he/she chooses.
  2. Body composition information will be available only to the athlete, sports medicine staff, and strength and conditioning staff.  The athlete may share this information with anyone he/she chooses.
  3. Body composition information may be shared with coaches only in conjunction with and guidance from Head Team Physician
  4. Weight will only be measured under the following situations:
    1. Annual physicals

b.   Appointments with Team Physicians
c.   Appointments with Sports Nutritionist
d.   Monitoring hydration status
e.   Monitoring improvements by Strength and Conditioning staff
f.    Otherwise prescribed by Sports Medicine staff

  1. All body composition measurements will be performed by the Sports Nutritionist and/or strength and conditioning personnel.


  1. Any coach who has a concern about an athlete’s nutritional status, body composition, or weight should discuss these concerns with the Team Physician, Sports Nutritionist, or staff Athletic Trainer assigned to that sport.
  2. Coaches may not discuss weight or body composition with a student-athlete.
  3. Coaches may not discipline athletes based on changes in weight or body composition.
  4. Coaches may not require mandatory or optional/voluntary weigh-in sessions.
  5. Coaches should de-emphasize weight and should focus on performance.
  6. Coaches may not refer any student athlete to any medical facility or personnel outside of the athletics department.
  7. Non-compliance with the above policies by coaches is grounds for disciplinary action by the athletics director.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, most commonly anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are relatively common health problems for students on college campuses.  Collegiate athletes are at the same risk for these disorders.  It is a goal of the Sports Medicine Department at Kansas Athletics to work to identify, evaluate, and treat these disorders in such a way as to maximize the health and performance of those individuals affected.

Although the precise cause of eating disorders has not been agreed upon, the development of an eating disorder probably is related to a combination of psychological, geological, family, genetic, environmental and social factors.  We will minimize environmental factors by a science-based approach to weight management which emphasizes healthy, performance-enhancing eating and de-emphasizes body image (see Kansas Athletics Weight Management Policy above).

Sports medicine personnel will be familiar with the signs and symptoms of eating disorders.  If there is concern about an eating disorder in an athlete, either from a coach, teammate or staff person, that athlete will be referred to a team physician for evaluation.

Concussion Management Plan

Kansas Athletics is committed to the prevention, identification, evaluation and management of concussions. To ensure that the health and safety of our student-athletes are protected, the following guidelines will be followed.

  1. Athletics healthcare providers shall review concussion evaluation and management annually.
  2. Coaches, student-athletes, team physicians, trainers, and the Director of Athletics shall receive the NCAA concussion fact sheet or other applicable materials discussion concussion in athletic environments annually and shall sign an acknowledgement that they have read and understand the material.
  3. Kansas Athletics shall require student-athletes to sign a statement in which student-athletes accept the responsibility for reporting their injuries and illnesses to the institutional medical, staff, including signs and symptoms for concussions.
  4. Athletics healthcare providers should record a baseline evaluation for all incoming and transfer student-athletes prior to the first practice in all sports.
  5. Any student-athlete that exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be removed from practice or competition and evaluated by an athletics healthcare provider with experience in the evaluation and management of concussions.
  6. Any student-athlete given the diagnosis of concussion shall not return to activity the remainder of that day and should be referred for neurocognitive testing and evaluation by the Head Team Physician within 24 hours of the injury.
  7. Student-athletes diagnosed with a concussion shall receive serial monitoring for deterioration and concussion evaluation tools can be compared to the student-athlete’s baseline assessment.
  8. Student-athletes diagnosed with a concussion shall be provided with oral and written instructions, preferably with a roommate, guardian or someone who can follow the instructions.
  9. All student-athletes with a concussion shall be evaluated by a team physician prior to return to activity, both academic and athletic. Final clearance for any type of participation shall be by a team physician.
  10. Once asymptomatic and post-exertion assessments are within normal baseline limits, return to play and return to academics shall follow a medically supervised stepwise process.

Sickle Cell Trait Procedures

Kansas Athletics is committed to the identification, evaluation and management of sickle cell trait in student-athletes. Sickle cell trait is not a disease.  It is the inheritance of one gene for normal hemoglobin (A) and one gene for sickle hemoglobin (S), giving the genotype AS.  Sickle cell trait (AS) is not sickle cell anemia (SS), in which two sickle hemoglobin genes are inherited.  Sickle cell anemia causes major anemia and many clinical problems, whereas sickle cell trait causes no anemia and few clinical problems.  Sickle cell trait will not turn into the disease.  Sickle cell trait is a life-long condition that will not change over time.  However, it is possible to have symptoms of the disease under extreme conditions of physical stress or low oxygen levels.  In some cases, athletes with the trait have expressed significant distress and even died during rigorous exercise.

  • During intense exercises, red blood cells containing the sickle hemoglobin can change shape from round to quarter-moon, or “sickle.”
  • Sickled red cells may accumulate in the bloodstream during intense exercise, blocking normal blood flow to the tissues and muscles.
  • Heat, dehydration, altitude and asthma can increase the risk factor for and worsen complications associated with sickle cell trait, even when exercise is not intense.

Sickling can begin in only two to three minutes of sprinting, or in any other all-out exertion of sustained effort, thus quickly increasing the risk of collapse.  A sickling collapse is a medical emergency.  Even the most fit athletes can experience a sickling collapse, that may include ischemic pain and muscle weakness rather than muscle cramping or “locking up.”  The student-athlete who slumps to the ground can still talk, but will also experience major lactic acidosis, impending shock, and sudden rhabdmyolysis that can be life-threatening.

Screening for sickle cell trait will be a part of pre-participation physical medical examination, and will be required for any potential student-athlete trying-out for any of the teams at the University of Kansas, including Spirit Squad and “practice players”.  The sickle cell trait test is done through a simple blood test.  If a test is positive, the student-athlete, Spirit Squad member, or practice player will be notified and offered counseling on the implication of sickle cell trait, including health and athletics.

Precautions can enable student-athletes with sickle cell trait to thrive in their respective sport. The precautions are outlined below and in the 2007 NATA Consensus Statement on Sickle Cell Trait and the Athlete.  A student-athlete with sickle cell trait will be knowledgeable of these precautions along with head team physician, certified athletic trainer, strength and condition staff, and head coach.  Kansas Athletics will provide the environment in which these precautions may be activated.  The precautions suggest the student-athletes with sickle cell trait should:

Set their own pace

Engage in a slow gradual preseason conditioning regimen to be prepared for sports-specific performance testing and rigors of competitive intercollegiate athletics.

Build up slowly while training (e.g., paced progressions)

Use adequate rest and recovery between repetitions, especially during “gasses” and intense station drills

Not to be urged to perform all-out exertion of any kind beyond two to three minutes without a breather

Stay well hydrated at all times, especially in hot and humid conditions

Maintain proper asthma management

Refrain from extreme exercise during acute illness, if feeling ill, or while experiencing a fever

Beware when adjusting to a change in altitude, (e.g., rise in altitude of as little as 2000 feet). Modify your training

Stop activity immediately upon struggling or experiencing symptoms such as muscle pain, abnormal weakness, undue fatigue or breathlessness; and

Seek prompt medical care when experiencing unusual distress

Student-athletes experiencing these symptoms will be removed from activity and treated as a medical emergency.  EMS will be activated as per the Emergency Action Plan and supplemental oxygen will be used.

Medical Hardship or Disqualification

When a student-athlete suffers an injury or illness that will limit or prevent his/her athletic participation for a competitive season or for the remainder of his/her athletic career, the status of medical hardship or disqualification is determined.  The NCAA has specific rules governing these medical situations.

A medical hardship waiver (“medical redshirt”) can be requested if the student-athlete meets several NCAA requirements, including the fact that the student-athlete must not have participated in more than three contests or 30% of the scheduled contests (whichever is greater).

A medical disqualification or medical non-counter is a different situation.  This involves a medical condition in which the student-athlete is advised to not ever participate again in intercollegiate athletics.  If this situation is determined by the Head Team Physician, the student-athlete may retain his/her athletics grant-in-aid  until the completion of the necessary credits for an undergraduate degree or through the student-athlete’s fifth year, whichever comes first.

Contingent to retaining the grant-in-aid, is the requirement that the student-athlete work for the below mentioned hours per week during the student-athlete’s team’s practice and competitive seasons, based upon amount of aid student-athlete is on:

1-25% – 5 hours/week
26-50% – 10 hours/week
51-75% – 15 hours/week
76-100% – 20 hours/week
Work assignments will be distributed by the Senior Woman Administrator.

Determinations of medical hardships are granted by the Big 12 Conference or for medical disqualification by the Head Team Physician.

Extra Conditioning Sessions

Extra conditioning sessions should only be used by coaches after consultation with the team Athletic Trainer.  The Trainer will discuss each student-athlete’s medical history and any pre-existing conditions or other factors which might affect the health or safety of the student-athlete with the coach.  It is the expectation that ongoing dialog will occur should any concerns arise throughout the season.