It remains unknown whether and how sports medicine physicians currently utilize genetic testing in their clinical practice. This study sought to assess knowledge of, experience with, and attitudes towards genetic testing by sports medicine physicians in the United States (US). An email with a survey hyperlink was distributed twice to members of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) listserv in September 2016, with approximately a 10% response rate. Questions focused on knowledge of, experience with, and attitudes towards testing for different genes related to sports proficiency, injury risk, and disease risk. Few AMSSM physicians believe that genetic testing to adapt training (12%) or to choose a sport (2%) is ready for clinical adoption. Most respondents self-reported minimal knowledge about, and limited experience with, genetic testing. The main exception was screening for sickle cell trait (SCT) for which most (84%) reported moderate/significant/expert knowledge and over two-thirds had ordered testing. Although most respondents thought it appropriate to counsel and test for health conditions associated with cardiac and connective tissue disorders in the setting of a positive family history, only a minority had been asked to do so. Five or fewer respondents (2%) had been asked to test for performance-associated variants (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) II
and Alpha-Actinin 3 (ACTN3
)), and five or fewer (2%) would recommend changes based on the results. Our study provides a baseline of current US sports medicine physicians’ minimal experiences with, and knowledge of, genetic testing. The findings of our study indicate that sports medicine physicians require further genetics education as it relates to sports and exercise in order to be prepared to competently engage with their patients and to develop sound professional organizational policies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited