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Genetic Factors May Be Responsible for Slowing Concussion Recovery in Athletes

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) July 13, 2014

Athletes with a certain genetic make-up are prone to a longer recovery period from concussions, according to research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting. The research marks the first of its kind investigating a genetic association to concussion based on the known physical events that occur after a head injury.

“We identified that patients with a long allele in the (GT)n genotype were four times more likely to have a prolonged concussion recovery,” noted lead author Jane McDevitt, PhD, from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Because genes determine the structure and function of proteins involved in the cell’s resistance and response to mechanical stress, it’s not surprising there could be a connection to recovery from a traumatic event like a head injury.”

The 52 athletes participating in the study went through standardized concussion assessments following injury, and provided a saliva sample. Each was followed until fully recovered and placed into an either normal or prolonged recovery group, at which point DNA was extracted from samples for further study.

“Making the genetic connection in this data is an exciting step for concussion injury research,” noted McDevitt. “Knowing this information could help improve monitoring and management of athletes who experience concussion, and may also aid in the development of genetic counseling in athletes exposed to concussive head impacts.”

Patients included in the study were from the Concussion Center in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Temple University School of Medicine.


The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship, and includes national and international orthopaedic sports medicine leaders. The Society works closely with many other sports medicine specialists, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, family physicians, and others to improve the identification, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids.

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