Sports Medicine - Open
Exercise Medicine Research Institute / School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Precision Health /
Australian Government Research Training Scholarship (YJ)
Introduction: Australian Football is a dynamic team sport that requires many athletic traits to succeed. Due to this combination of traits, as well as technical skill and physicality, there are many types of injuries that could occur. Injuries are not only a hindrance to the individual player, but to the team as a whole. Many strength and conditioning personnel strive to minimise injuries to players to accomplish team success. Purpose: To investigate whether selected polymorphisms have an association with injury occurrence in elite male Australian Football players. Methods: Using DNA obtained from 46 elite male players, we investigated the associations of injury-related polymorphisms across multiple genes (ACTN3, CCL2, COL1A1, COL5A1, COL12A1, EMILIN1, IGF2, NOGGIN, SMAD6) with injury incidence, severity, type (contact and non-contact), and tissue (muscle, bone, tendon, ligament) over 7 years in one Australian Football League team. Results: A significant association was observed between the rs1372857 variant in NOGGIN (p = 0.023) and the number of total muscle injuries, with carriers of the GG genotype having a higher estimated number of injuries, and moderate, or combined moderate and high severity rated total muscle injuries. The COL5A1 rs12722TT genotype also had a significant association (p = 0.028) with the number of total muscle injuries. The COL5A1 variant also had a significant association with contact bone injuries (p = 0.030), with a significant association being found with moderate rated injuries. The IGF2 rs3213221-CC variant was significantly associated with a higher estimated number of contact tendon injuries per game (p = 0.028), while a higher estimated number of total ligament (p = 0.019) and non-contact ligament (p = 0.002) injuries per game were significantly associated with carriage of the COL1A1 rs1800012-TT genotype. Conclusions: Our preliminary study is the first to examine associations between genetic variants and injury in Australian Football. NOGGIN rs1372857-GG, COL5A1 rs12722-TT, IGF2 rs3213221-CC, and COL1A1 rs1800012-TT genotypes held various associations with muscle-, bone-, tendon- and ligament-related injuries of differing severities. To further increase our understanding of these, and other, genetic variant associations with injury, competition-wide AFL studies that use more players and a larger array of gene candidates is essential.
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