The objective of this study was to ascertain the opinions of collegiate coaches on the bioethical issue of using genetic screening to assess potential athletes. Numerous studies have identified various human genes that can be factors in determining athletic performance. The most proven and exciting of these genes is the ACTN3 gene, which is used to determine if an individual has more potential for strength/power activities versus endurance activities. The testing for these genes has become inexpensive and readily available for any individual at sports genetics labs across the country. Collegiate athletics already use genetic analysis for medical purposes. It seems possible, if not likely, that the next use for genetic screening will be for the recruitment/assessment of potential athletes by coaches. This raises the question of whether or not it is ethical to use genetic information in evaluating potential athletes. NCAA Division I coaches were surveyed for their opinions on the ethics of using genetic screening as well as determining any correlation between their views and factors such as gender, age, what sport they are involved with, how long they have been coaching, and criteria they currently use in evaluating athletes. After coaches were surveyed the process of gathering and analyzing this data to further investigate and correlate this issue was done. Given the emerging ethical issues associated with the use of genetic information, it is important that society as a whole begin to address issues such as the one presented in this study. The information gathered and disseminated from this study may not only raise awareness of the issue with a wider audience but also serve as the basis for establishing regulations for the use of genetic screening in collegiate athlete recruitment and evaluation.
Beal, Kalin and Laursen, Trevor
"Coaches Opinions on the Use of Genetic Screening for Assessment of Collegiate Athletes,"
Skyline - The Big Sky Undergraduate Journal: Vol. 1
, Article 5.
Available at: http://skyline.bigskyconf.com/journal/vol1/iss1/5