Episode 112: Can genetics influence athletic performance?

The Dr. David Geier Show
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In the Zone
Can genetics influence athletic performance?

That’s Gotta Hurt
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons wide receiver
Clay Matthews – Green Bay Packers linebacker
Luke Joeckel – Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle
Blaine Gabbert – Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback
Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts running back

Ask Dr. Geier
Can a ballet dancer with cartilage damage develop it in other parts of her knee by continuing to train?
Does a high-school baseball catcher risk long-term damage by returning to catcher after meniscus surgery?
Can a 43-year-old recreational athlete return to sports without surgery after tearing his ACL?
Does a high-school female soccer player need to wear an ACL brace as she returns to play after ACL surgery?
Can a tennis player develop chronic exertional compartment syndrome in his forearm?

Fan Favorites and Trash Talkers
Comments from listeners on the show and our previous discussions


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One Response to Episode 112: Can genetics influence athletic performance?

  1. Genetics obviously significantly influence athletic ability. As does parental support–just kids having the belief and the confidence they can do something. You need both to be a top athlete.

    I think athletic ability is over-rated in recovery from injury. Dr. James Andrews once said that RG3, Adrian Peterson and Bo Jackson all recovered in “superhuman” ways. Bo Jackson? He hurt his hip and never fully recovered. He got a hip replacement at age 28 and was a shell of himself. He did not have “superhuman” recovery. He is simply human.

    I think there are a lot of variables that go into surgery recovery, but the primary one is orthopedic surgeon ability and if the patient doesn’t mess it up by being active too soon.

    There was a kid from my high-school who was very athletic. It was good at all sports. The primary determinant in my opinion was his Dad’s focus on him being a good athlete. Yes, he was talented. But he had this solid family that helped him out and gave him confidence in himself. I think that might be underrated.
    We always joked about how he had the “perfect parents”.

    I feel like genetics are a blessing then after that everyone is human. Genetically “talented” people might have higher hormone levels and may recover faster. That might be true. But usually they just have good body structures, bigger, lankier, more flexible. That’s more about genetic build than some super-human recovery ability (although that would be cool).

    Also I have noticed some friends seem more immune to injury. Some people seem to have thicker bones and more immune–like say Lebron. He is 30 and has yet to have any serious injury involving a joint (ankle, knee, hip, shoulder). It’s pretty impressive.

    Maybe it’s just human variation with Lebron or luck, but it seems to be more than that. I studied anthropology in college (don’t ask why…) and humans historically had twice as dense bones as we do today. That’s a generality but if you go to more “primitive” populations you will find increased bone density. This could be because they are selecting more with their bodies than us, whereas with us the mind may be a better determining factor for survival.

    Also, there is more incurable disease in the third world (lack of doctors) so truly the strong survive.

    You could also see if Bergmanns rule applies and how that correlates with injury levels (basically a players robustness–near the poles, more robust, compact—near the equator, more lanky, prone to injury?)

    This is an evolving area of sports, but I feel like as regenerative therapies become better and better there may be less talk about injuries being career-ending. But there are a lot of factors.

    I think injuries that improve the efficiency of the common populace–like say giving someone the ability to exercise pain-free, are more important than returning someone to sports. Sports are a luxury, IMO. Fun obviously, but not essential to a balanced life.

    I guess that’s easy to say if you are not some guy from a low socioeconomic place and the only thing that can apparently take you from obscurity, is athletic ability.

    Sorry for the rambling post. I wonder if everyone has followed this long! Take care.

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