Athletic performance and risk of injury: Can genes explain all?
Dialogues in Cardiovascular Medicine
UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, South Africa; Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa
Sporting success is the result of the combination of innumerable genetic and environmental factors, and there is no single path to becoming a champion athlete. Susceptibility to injuries is also a multifactorial phenotype and is a less acknowledged contributor in determining elite athletic ability. The relative importance of deliberate practice, other environmental factors, and genetic factors in molding champions is a constant area of debate. We review two models, the "Practice Sufficiency" and "Genetic Ceiling" models that explain expert performance development and injury risk. We conclude that although the deliberate training and other environmental factors are critical for achieving elite performance, the "Practice Sufficiency Model" does not adequately explain performance. The "Genetic Ceiling Model," on the other hand, acknowledges both nurture and nature and is a more accurate theory. © 2012 LLS SAS.
article; athletic performance; genetic association; genetic ceiling model; genetic model; genetic trait; genetic variability; heritability; human; practice sufficiency model; skill; sport injury; training