NCAA To Recommend Sickle-Cell Testing As A Result Of Rice Football Player's Death

Dale Lloyd was a promising Rice football player who had shined at Lamar High. Three years ago, the freshman collapsed at a workout and died.

His family sued the university and Rice; a settlement was announced today that could go towards seeing that the tragedy helps someone else one day.

After his death Lloyd was found to have the so-called "sickle-cell trait" that affects a little less than 10 percent of the black population in the US.

Under the settlement, the NCAA will now include in its medical policies a recommendation that colleges test all athletes for the sickle-cell trait, (Other races can have it, although at much lower rates.

"This settlement is the first step in preventing tragic deaths like Dale's from ever happening again," Mark Lanier, one of the family's attorneys, said.  "The Lloyd family is pleased that the NCAA stepped up and settled this matter in a way that honors their son's memory and also funds research that will save lives."

The NCAA will also make a $50,000 donation to the Sickle Cell Disease Association and a $10,000 donation to the Dale R. Lloyd II Scholarship Fund.

It's difficult to overstate how well-liked Lloyd was among his peers. His death hit Lamar especially hard; he'd been a football star who was friendly to everyone, and got the grades necessary to get into Rice.

"From the beginning of this case, our goal was to have the NCAA recommend and implement a testing program to prevent further deaths related to the sickle cell trait," said Gene Egdorf, the lead attorney on the case.

Rice put out a statement saying "the university has agreed to continue to honor [Lloyd's] memory a number of ways" and that "the parties are satisfied with the resolution."

The release on the settlement didn't say whether the recommendation and the donations were the full extent of the agreement; we're checking and will let you know if there's something further.

Update: We're spoken with Egdorf, and while he can't talk about it, it seems clear that the settlement involved further payments. "You have all the information that is non-confidential," he says. "In terms of any other money, that's all confidential."

He also noted that one group of defendants -- the manufacturers of some strength and muscle supplements -- had been dropped a few months ago. The only remaining defendants in the suit were the NCAA and "the Rice group": the university, former head football coach Todd Graham, the strength coach and a trainer.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly