Sickle cell trait deaths in college football since 2000
Nine college football players' deaths have been tied to complications of sickle cell trait since 2000.
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School: Tennessee Tech
Date of death: Aug. 13, 2000
Circumstances: Birdsong, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound freshman defensive back, collapsed during sprints that were part of team conditioning tests on the first day of football preseason workouts and later died. His death was initially tied to heatstroke, but it was later linked to sickle cell trait. School officials and teammates stated Birdsong was in good shape and had relatively little body fat. He had a stellar high school career at Nashville's Maplewood High. Birdsong spent 1999 season learning the Tennessee Tech playbook and was projected earn extensive playing time during the 2000 season.