A simple swab of the inside cheek will tell if your child will be a future sports star.
Is your kid the next LeBron James, Peyton Manning or Albert Pujols? A Colorado company claims it can find out through DNA testing.
Atlas Sports Genetics, a Boulder, Colo. outfit, uses a child’s genetic code to decide if football, baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming or another sport is best for them. Atlas claims to give parents early information on their child’s genetic predisposition for success in power or endurance sports.
At a charge of $160 per child, parents receive a specially designed DNA kit to collect a DNA swab. The swabs are sent back to the company before eventually ending up in an Australian lab. After a few weeks, the results are sent back.
Shjon Podein, a retired NHL player who won the Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche, signed his 5-year-old son, Junior, and his 8-year-old daughter, Anna up for the testing. Podein famously wore his uniform for a full 25 hours after the Avalanche won Game 7 of the Finals over the New Jersey Devils.
Scientists are looking specifically for the ACTN 3 Gene, which is believed to be responsible for fast-twitch explosive muscles, according to WCCO Minnesota. Should they discover that a child’s ACTN 3 is lacking, they’ll recommend them for endurance sports such as long-distance running, cycling and swimming.
If your kid has a little bit of ACTN 3, he or she is what’s known as a mixed-pattern athlete with strength and endurance — meaning he or she has a chance of succeeding at any sport.
Should you be overloaded with ACTN 3, then you are blessed with strength and power. These kids are best suited for football, wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, etc.
Although science is on their side, Atlas admits children can still succeed in a sport that doesn’t match their DNA profile. That’s where the controversy comes in for critics of the company that claim it’s a worthless scam. Atlas stands by the testing.
“We hope they use it to highlight ways they can train different,” said Nat Carruthers, president of Operations for Atlas. “Or it inspires them in a different way as opposed to just locking them into a single sport.”
Photo credit: Psychology Today