Genetic polymorphisms associated with the risk of concussion in 1056 college athletes: A multicentre prospective cohort study

Thomas Roland Terrell, Ruth Abramson, Jeffery T. Barth, Ellen Bennett, Robert C. Cantu, Richard Sloane, Daniel T. Laskowitz, David M. Erlanger, Douglas McKeag, Gregory Nichols, Verle Valentine, Leslie Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background/aim To evaluate the association of genetic polymorphisms APOE, APOE G-219T promoter, microtubule associated protein(MAPT)/tau exon 6 Ser 53 Pro, MAPT/tau Hist 47 Tyr, IL-6572 G/C and IL-6R Asp 358 Ala with the risk of concussion in college athletes. Methods A 23-centre prospective cohort study of 1056 college athletes with genotyping was completed between August 2003 and December 2012. All athletes completed baseline medical and concussion questionnaires, and post-concussion data were collected for athletes with a documented concussion. Results The study cohort consisted of 1056 athletes of mean±SD age 19.7±1.5 years, 89.3% male, 59.4% Caucasian, 35.0% African-American, 5.6% other race. The athletes participated in American football, soccer, basketball, softball, men's wrestling and club rugby. A total of 133 (12.1% prevalence) concussions occurred during an average surveillance of 3 years per athlete. We observed a significant positive association between IL-6R CC (p=0.001) and a negative association between APOE4 (p=0.03) and the risk of concussion. Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression analysis showed a significant association between IL-6R CC and concussion (OR 3.48; 95% CI 1.58 to 7.65; p=0.002) and between the APOE4 allele and concussion (OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.38 to 0.96; p=0.04), which persisted after adjustment for confounders. Conclusions IL-6R CC was associated with a three times greater concussion risk and APOE4 with a 40% lower risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalBritish journal of sports medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • APOE4
  • IL-6 gene
  • genotype
  • sport
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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