The mother of a Navy recruit who died after a boot camp run at the Great Lakes base earlier this year said she will seek a second autopsy after a blood disorder was determined to have played a role in her daughter's death.
Kenya Evans said the Navy discovered that her daughter Kierra, 20, possessed the sickle cell trait during a medical exam. Most who have it don't experience symptoms of sickle cell disease — a potentially lethal condition that causes blood cells to deform and clog blood vessels — but they can surface during hard exercise.
Airmen will now see a new question on their Air Force fitness screening questionnaire, or FSQ, prior to taking the physical fitness assessment.
The addition of screening for sickle cell trait on the survey will help to flag those who might need additional clearance or care ahead of their PT test, officials said. The change was initiated in July and has now gone into effect for airmen across the service.
"Asking the one percent of the Air Force's members who have the sickle cell trait if they have appropriately prepared for their physical assessment demonstrates the Air Force's commitment to being adaptable and ensuring the health of airmen," Lt. Col. Richard Speakman, 22nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander, said in a released statement.
Capt. Carrie Volpe, an Air Force spokeswoman, said Thursday via email that the service is also now requiring airmen to complete the FSQ at least seven days prior to taking the fitness assessment.