Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1267–1275 | Cite as

Student-Athletes’ Views on APOE Genotyping for Increased Risk of Poor Recovery after a Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Laura S. Hercher
  • Michelle Caudle
  • Julie Griffin
  • Matthew Herzog
  • Diana Matviychuk
  • Jenna Tidwell
Original Research


Use of apolipoprotein E genotyping to personalize the risk of a poor recovery after traumatic brain injury is complicated by the potential for genetic discrimination and the potential to reveal an increased risk for late onset Alzheimer’s disease. We developed a survey to gauge interest in testing among athletes participating in National Collegiate Athletic Association programs. Eight hundred and forty seven student-athletes were surveyed to determine their interest in genetic testing, their willingness to share the results of testing with parents, coaches and physicians, their concerns about privacy and/or discrimination, and their interest in genetic counseling. Nearly three quarters of respondents expressed some level of interest in testing, with the largest number describing themselves as ‘possibly interested’ (54.9 %, n = 463) and a smaller number describing themselves as ‘very interested’ (18.9 %, n = 159). Most student-athletes said that receiving secondary information about their risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease made them more likely to test (50.6 %, n = 426) rather than less likely to test (12.4 %, n = 104). Student-athletes were open to apolipoprotein E genotyping and willing to share test results with their parents, coaches and physicians. They did not anticipate that test results would impact their behavior or ability to play. Testing programs may be welcome but should provide clear information as to risks and benefits.


Genetic testing Apolipoprotein genotyping APOE Traumatic brain injury Alzheimer’s disease Genetic discrimination NCAA 



We would like the thank Mike Smith for his valuable assistance with data analysis and Jehannine Austin for her excellent advice. We gratefully acknowledge the Sarah Lawrence College Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics for providing services and funding in support of our participant recruitment process.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Laura Hercher, Michelle Caudle, Julie Griffin, Matthew Herzog, Diana Matviychuk and Jenna Tidwell have no conflict of interest to declare.

Research Involving Human Subjects

All procedures for this study were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. This study was approved by the Julia Dyckman Memorial Institutional Review Board on September 4, 2014.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained for all participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura S. Hercher
    • 1
  • Michelle Caudle
    • 1
  • Julie Griffin
    • 2
  • Matthew Herzog
    • 3
  • Diana Matviychuk
    • 4
  • Jenna Tidwell
    • 5
  1. 1.Sarah Lawrence College Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human GeneticsBronxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center, Department of Pediatrics, School of MedicineUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human Genetics, David Geffen School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Medical Genetics UnitKingston General HospitalKingstonCanada
  5. 5.Cancer Risk and Prevention ProgramMemorialCare Cancer Institute at MemorialCare Health SystemLaguna HillsUSA

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