Do you have a relative that has a remarkable tendency to end up injured? It might not be entirely their fault. A review article indicates that a person’s genetic makeup could have an influence on their risk of injury. The results of the article are especially interesting to athletes whose livelihoods can be negatively impacted after a severe injury occurs.
A review article was published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. The review article was titled “The dawning age of genetic testing for sports injuries”. One of the authors was Stuart Kim, who is a professor of genetics at Stanford University’s department of developmental biology and genetics. A key point of the study is that the authors think that genetic testing would give athletes important information that they might be able to use to increase their competitive edge.
That review article adds to a growing body of research about the connection between genes and the tendency to become injured. For example, there was a previous study that was published in 2009 that was titled “Genetic risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament ruptures: COL1A1 gene variant.”
In “plain English” the study focused on a gene called COL1A1. It is a gene that is involved with a certain type of collagen that the body produces. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one that is among the most severe types of sports injuries. The ACL is the ligament that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone.
This study involved 117 Caucasian participants who had surgically diagnosed ACL ruptures and an additional 130 Caucasian participants who didn’t have any history of an ACL injury. All of the participants were genotyped for the COL1A1 gene.
The researchers found that a rare genotype of the COL1A1 gene, called TT was under-represented in the group that had experienced a surgically diagnosed ACL rupture. In other words, the people who had the TT variant were much less likely to experience an ACL rupture. Another study regarding the COL1A1 gene had results that indicated that the TT genotype appeared to be protective against acute soft tissue ruptures.
This is the part where genetic testing kits come into the conversation. Several companies offer consumers DNA testing kits that could tell a person his or her risk for sports injuries (including the risk of an ACL injury) based upon that person’s genetic information. Could this kind of information be used against a person who hoped to join a college team, or who wanted to play professional sports?
Another thing to keep in mind that the genes have an influence on injury, but sometimes it is the confluence of several genes that produce the result – not just one. People also are capable of making risky choices that can lead to injury regardless of what is in their genes.
Image by Jeremy Reding on Flickr.
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