The University of Missouri will now make it mandatory that all student-athletes test for sickle cell.  The policy is being put in place following the 2005 death of 19 year old linebacker Aaron O’Neal who died after a voluntary practice.

Several experts cited the sickle cell trait in O’Neal’s case.  The official cause of death was viral meningitis as ruled on by the Boone County Medical Examiner.  Whether or not sickle cell was a factor is O’Neal’s death has been debated, but nonetheless the University is changing its policy on testing after the school agree to pay $2 million to the O’Neal family.

Missouri starting  testing for sickle cell on a voluntary basis in 2006 with the school picking up the costs.