Genetic Testing for Sports Injuries

The recent NFC championship game proved, I think, this truth: a true champion is not dead until the final whistle blows. The Seahawks  won in dramatic fashion over the Packers, my favorite team.  As many commentators noted, Seattle played horribly for 58 minutes, but were stellar for the last two; and that was all that mattered in the end.

As a fan, my initial reaction is to think “we gave it away.”  But that is a disservice to the champions.  The Seahawks never lay down, and they seized the moment when it presented itself.

Still… a fan, I wonder–if Aaron Rodgers’ calf were 100%, would we have pulled away more decisively earlier in the game?  The field goals in the red zone: would they have been touchdowns instead if our quarterback had his usual mobility?


Does Rodgers carry a valuable SNP in the genes of his gastrocnemius? I hope so!

Well, we Packer fans have an offseason to think about ‘what ifs,’ and the Packers medical staff has an offseason to rehab Rodgers’ injury and think about secondary prevention.  Perhaps the Packers will want to think about doing some genetic testing as part of their assessment. Management and the medical staff may want, at least, to take a look at our lead editorial for the January 2015 issue:  “The Dawning Age of Genetic Testing for Sports Injuries.”

We have written about ‘genes’ and sports in the pages of this blog:  a very popular post last year was “The Sports Gene:  how Olympians are made (or born),” a review of David Epstein’s excellent book, The Sports Gene:  Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance. As those titles would indicate, the focus on the sports/gene intersection in those pieces was more on sports performance than sports injury.

The ‘intersection’ of sports injury and genes has come up in the pages of the CJSM journal itself:  Genetics:  Does it Play a Role in Tendinopathy? and an investigation into genotypes and the risk for concussion in college athletes  are among the offerings we’ve had on this subject in recent years.

In the January lead editorial, Gabrielle Goodlin and her co-authors from Stanford do an excellent job in a short space of reviewing a great deal of what evidence already exists in this world, as well as pointing out directions where this work may be headed. Read more of this post

Pediatric Overuse Injuries: A Closer Look


Illustration by J.C. Leyendecker, Saturday Evening Post

The ringing in of the New Year is traditionally accompanied by pictures with some variation on the theme of a new baby’s arrival.  Witness the classic Saturday Evening Post cover accompanying this post.

For intentional or serendipitous reasons, we at CJSM have a habit of doing something of the same:  for two years running now the journal has our inaugural issue of the new year highlight studies looking into the phenomenon of overuse injuries in the pediatric athlete.  Our January 2014 issue was headlined by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) position statement on overuse injuries and burnout in youth sport, a study I got to follow up with an interview with lead author and then-President of the AMSSM, UCLA’s John DiFiori!

This year, one of our ‘Original Research’ papers comes from another AMSSM member, Andrea Stracciolini, from Boston Children’s Hospital.  She is the lead author on the paper, A Closer Look at Overuse Injuries in the Pediatric Athlete.

Landing on your doorstep in January:  not a baby from a stork but a pediatric overuse study by CJSM….2015 is going to be a good year!

Dr. Stracciolini and her team primarily set out to see whether there was a true difference in overuse injuries between male and female athletes after they had controlled for several confounding variables (e.g. BMI, presence of contact/collision in the sport, team vs. individual sport, etc.) Read more of this post

Sports Ultrasound and the New Year


Chillin’ like Bob Dylan: Folly Beach, Charleston, S.C.

Happy New Year y’all!

Returning from lovely Charleston, South Carolina after a relaxing week, I’ll be able to retain a southern, laid-back lilt to my voice for perhaps a day or two more….As many of you would likely agree, there’s nothing quite as bracing as the need to attend to the post-vacation crunch of full email accounts, urgent work-inbox tasks, and full clinic days!

It certainly makes a difference to return to a job and profession one loves.  Sports medicine:  what would I do without you?

I hope you have had a chance to peruse the new, January 2015 CJSM, which is as full of excellent articles as the aforementioned inboxes.  One of the highlights of the issue is the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement on Interventional Radiology, which is currently freely available.  I hope, too, you’ve had a chance to catch the new podcast interview with Dr. Jonathan Finnoff, the lead author of the paper.

As a clinician who currently (and regretfully) does not employ sports ultrasound in my current practice, I’m always curious about those professional colleagues who do.  With that in mind, it’s time for the first poll of the year:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Out with the old: 2014 in Review

New Year’s Eve:  a time for parties, bowl games….and reflection.

How was your year?  What goals do you have for the new one?

At CJSM, our 2014 was special.  Ranging from Editorial Board visits to two of our member societies’ annual meetings (AMSSM in Florida and CASEM in Quebec City), to introducing our new podcast feature, we spanned the globe, in real as well as virtual terms, in our efforts to engage with you, our readers.

This blog has been a special project for CJSM and for me.  I want to thank WordPress for running our blog numbers and providing some interesting data on how has been doing this year (see below).

If you’re new to our page, here’s an excerpt from a March 2014 blog post:

“Navigating the twin perils of brain injury and physical inactivity,” that’s how I phrase it in my own talks.  American football is the number one participant sport in high school students and other youth in this country.  If we eliminate it, with what do we replace it? Kids certainly would be safer in front of an iPad as opposed to an opponent twice their size in an Oklahoma drill.  But is the ‘clear and present danger’ to kids and others sport-related concussion;  or is it physical inactivity and consequent obesity?  There is some evidence that there is a decline in participation in organized youth sports.  This is concerning.

Odysseus famously survived his encounters with sea monsters, and other perils, by using his cleverness, his intelligence.  We, too, can navigate our course with science, with evidence-based research.”

Click here to see the complete report of our 2014 stats.

We have big goals for 2015, and we look forward to sharing the year with you.  Happy New Year!

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