Willie Cauley-Stein played great last night, but told reporters after that he wanted to do even more, but because he has a sickle-cell trait, he had to come out at times due to fatigue.
A sickle cell trait itself is not a disease; it just means that one of Willie’s parents had sickle cell anemia or passed the recessive gene on to him. People with the gene don’t have the severe symptoms of sickle cell anemia, but it can cause some complications because there are still some misshapen blood cells that cannot carry enough oxygen. Because of that, those with the trait sometimes tire easily, especially when dehydrated or in high altitudes. Willie said that when he feels the bad chest pain, he knows it’s time to come out:
“I was just trying to play hard. I was having a little sickle-cell problem and my chest was starting to hurt, so I had to keep on telling myself, ‘In and out.’ So I wasn’t going to be able to play the minutes that I normally play, but I just tried to go as hard as I could when I could and come out whenever I felt fatigued,” Willie said. “I have the sickle-cell trait, so some days it’s just randomly where I’ll have like real bad chest pain and I can’t like breathe and my heart rate won’t come down, so I gotta stop and wait for it to come down.”
Take care of yourself, Willie.