1968-69: Four Army recruits collapsed and died during basic training at Fort Bliss between March 1968 and February 1969. The recruits were the first documented cases of deaths caused by complications of sickle cell trait.
1974: Polie Poitier, a former Coral Gables High quarterback who switched to defensive back in college, collapsed during a University of Colorado workout and later died. Poitier, 19, would become the NCAA's first documented case of sudden death of an athlete caused sickle cell trait complications.
1988: Hospitals in the state of Florida begin mandatory newborn testing for sickle cell trait. The focus of the testing program is determine whether the infants suffer from sickle cell anemia, a debilitating disease that differs significantly from sickle cell trait. The screening program also indicates whether a newborn has sickle cell trait, but physicians' delivery of that information to parents varies significantly throughout the state.
2000: Preston Birdsong, an 18-year-old freshman defensive back at Tennessee Tech, collapsed and died following sprints on the first day of preseason drills. His cause of death was initially listed as heatstroke, but it has since been referred to as the first sickle cell trait in college football since 2000.
2001: Devaughn Darling, a 19-year-old freshman linebacker at Florida State, collapsed while doing mat drills and later died from complications of sickle cell trait. Darling was a member of the highest-profile college football program to lose an athlete due to sickle cell trait complications, generating more national attention for the condition. His parents won the first wrongful-death settlement against a school supervising an athlete who had sickle cell trait. Florida State paid the Darling family $200,000, but payment of the remainder of the $2 million settlement must be approved by the state Legislature. As of July 2011, the Darling family still has not received the balance of its settlement.
2005: Dale Lloyd II, 19-year-old freshman defensive back at Rice, collapsed after completing 16 consecutive 100-yard sprints during conditioning drills. Lloyd's parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Rice and the NCAA. As part of a settlement, NCAA members eventually agreed to test all athletes for the trait or give them the option of signing a liability waiver indicating they do not want to be tested.
2007: The National Athletic Trainers' Association releases its consensus statement on sickle cell trait, providing guidelines for treatment of athletes with the trait.
2010: The NCAA begins its new sickle cell trait screening program.
2011: A jury finds the UCF Athletics Association negligent in the death of 19-year-old Knights wide receiver Ereck Plancher, who collapsed and died after offseason conditioning drills. The jury awarded Plancher's parents $10 million in damages, which is believed to be the largest payout in a wrongful-death case linked to sickle cell trait. UCFAA plans to appeal the verdict.