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Towson University Studies If People Can Be Prone To Concussions

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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Concussions can be a consequence of nearly every sport.

Andrea Fujii reports a new Towson University study has found some athletes may be more likely to suffer one.

Concussions are inevitable in football.

“You feel a little light-headed at first, then you kind of regain your senses,” said Paul Stefanik, football player.

That’s why doctors at Towson and Temple University are conducting a concussion study.

The study is the first of its kind to find out whether some people who are missing a certain genotype are more prone to the injury.

“It may possibly predispose you to a concussive event, because it doesn’t allow your brain to heal as well,” said Dr. Michael Higgins, Towson University.

They gathered DNA samples of more than 200 athletes from three universities, including Towson, and for the past three years doctors studied which athletes suffered concussions.

Of them, they found about eight athletes — or 5 percent — may be genetically prone to concussions.

Towson fullback Stefanik says it may not matter.

“Most players aren’t going to say ‘I have a concussion.’ They don’t want to come out of the game,” said Stefanik.

That’s even though repeated concussions — no matter what sport — can be detrimental to long-term health.

“Loss of memory, agitation, even death,” said Higgins.

“That’s the risk you take playing the game,” said Stefanik.

Now scientists may know more about the risks.

With the data comes the moral question: Should athletes be genetically tested? That’s something the doctors say someone else must decide.

Players will continue to be studied for another year. The study will then expand to high school students.

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