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Ravens WR Devard Darling will be a guest speaker at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s annual meeting this Wednesday, June 27, 2007, in Anaheim, Calif. Darling will be one of the speakers at the “Sickle Cell Trait and the Athlete” press conference. Darling, who carries the sickle cell trait, lost his twin brother Devaughn to physical exertion and complications of sickle cell trait in 2001.
Leading national and local health care professionals of the NATA will release inter-association task force consensus statement recommendations for athletes with sickle cell trait. The purpose of the press conference is to raise awareness of this condition and provide measures to reduce the risk of exertional collapse among those with sickle cell trait.
At the time of Devaughn’s death, both brothers were freshmen at Florida State. Devard speaks publicly about this health issue to better educate others on early detection and management. He established the As One Foundation to honor his brother and provide underprivileged youth more opportunities through athletics, educational programming and spiritual enhancement.
In the past seven years alone, collapse during exercise due to sickling has killed nine athletes. Of 136 sudden, non-traumatic sports deaths in high school and college athletes over a decade, five percent were due to exertional sickling.
Additional speakers at the press conference include Scott Anderson, consensus statement co-author and head athletic trainer at the University of Oklahoma; E. Randy Eichner, consensus statement co-author and team internist for Oklahoma intercollegiate athletics; and James Galloway, inter-association task force member.
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. Athletic trainers are unique health care providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses.
For more information on the consensus statement and press conference, please contact Robin Waxenberg at 212-489-8006 or [email protected].
Photo by Sabina Moran

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