Screening Saviors?: The Politics of Care, College Sports, and Screening Athletes for Sickle Cell Trait
Since 2013 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has required that all athletes be tested for sickle cell trait presumably to ensure the care, health, and safety of student-athletes given that the inherited condition can interfere with blood flow and oxygen uptake under extreme conditions such as during intense exercise. Grounded in feminist Science and Technology Studies (STS) sensibilities particularly the need to unsettle dominant notions of care, this chapter investigates the governing power of NCAA screening discourses and practices through an exploration of three related issues: (1) the ways in which the screening procedures at times rely upon, remake, and subvert historical commonsense classification systems related to race; (2) the broader commodified contexts of college sport and sickle cell trait screening which veil the racialized political economic structure of the NCAA, a structure which is built upon the unpaid labor of college athletes; and (3) the biopolitics of screening practices both within and beyond the NCAA. By investigating these issues, this analysis also interrogates the precarious use of health screening within sport spaces and beyond while helping to trouble notions of (dis)ability, health, and risk.
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