NCAA Put to Fire for Anemia-Testing Lapse

     (CN) — An appeals court revived claims against the NCAA by the parents whose son had a fatal heart attack during basketball practice, not knowing he had sickle-cell anemia.
     At the time of Jack Hill Jr.’s death in 2011, the NCAA mandated testing for the sickle-cell trait at Division I schools but not at Division II schools.
     Hill played basketball for Slippery Rock University, a Division II school in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The NCAA began mandating testing for sickle cell at Division II schools in 2012, and Division III schools a year later.
     In addition to suing the school in the Butler County Court of Common Pleas, Hill’s parents seek to hold the NCAA liable for negligent supervision of Division II schools.
     They appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court when the trial judge dismissed their claims against the NCAA with prejudice.
     On Tuesday, a divided three-judge panel reversed.
     “We agree with appellants’ position that, at this stage of the proceedings, the trial court erred in concluding that no recovery was possible,” Judge Jacqueline Shogan wrote for the majority.
     Hill’s parents note that their son completed a physical examination to participate in college basketball, but that documentation of sickle-cell anemia was left to a questionnaire.
     “At no point did anyone require or request a blood test to check for these diseases … [and] no one informed Mr. Hill of the dangers of SCA or SCT,” Shogan wrote, summarizing the allegations, abbreviating the disease and trait.
     Shogan called it reasonable for a fact finder to “conclude that the NCAA’s decision to test for SCT at Division I schools as part of its protocols, while forgoing such testing at Division II schools, was an error of omission and a failure in its duty, thereby increasing the risk of harm to Mr. Hill.”The opinion notes a dissent by President Judge Emeritus John Bender.

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