Imagine logging on to BetUS with the latest NFL Lines, knowing full well which players will get injured in that Sunday’s games? Most people would say that you’ve been hanging out with Biff Tannen and have obtained the Sports Almanac from Back to the Future. Others would say Golden Thread Technology’s services are working.
Golden Thread Technology is a Maryland-based, self-funded startup that hopes to use an athlete’s DNA makeup to help determine specific injury risks. DNA is the ‘golden thread’ that connects an athlete’s past with their future.
How Could DNA Be Used to Predict Sports Injuries
Dr. Fredric Abramson is the head of Golden Thread Technology. He has experience in artificial intelligence operations, has been a professor of biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University, has a Ph.D. in human genetics and population planning from Michigan, and has a Masters of Science from M.I.T.
All of Abramson’s past studies help develop a way to use DNA to predict sports injuries. The goal is to create AI-based on a framework that uses an athlete’s genetics to determine body structure, nutrition needs, and performance actions.
Abramson has already learned that there is a genetic variant that increases concussion risk by over 300%. This technology can pinpoint risks to the wrist, ankle, hip, knee, and any part of the body (including the brain), starting with a DNA swab.
Once the DNA is evaluated, the framework starts to get built based on an athlete’s age, height, weight, what sport they play, what position they play, average time on the field, court, etc.
Is This a Service That’s Really Needed?
If Abramson’s technology works as planned, it could potentially have many benefits and not just the increasing chances at BetUS. On an annual basis, one out of eight American youth athletes is injured seriously enough to require medical service.
Parents know there are risks involved with their children playing sports, but this technology would provide them with the specific risks. This boy has the genetic marker that makes him prone to concussions, so maybe football is not his sport. This girl has DNA that says she may be at a higher risk of an ACL tear, so perhaps ice skating is not the best activity.
This technology may not be used solely to determine whether a child should or shouldn’t play a sport, but more so the preventative measures to take if they do play. Athletes who have had a knee injury in the past will often wear a brace for the rest of their career because they are vulnerable. What if you could wear the brace before the injury because you knew your knee was at risk?
This is a service that could be very beneficial to athletes and their careers. Why spend years and years developing to become a pitcher when you know your elbow and shoulder are vulnerable to a serious injury at some point? Could that time be better spent working on fielding at a different position?
What Abramson’s service is also hoping to incorporate is real-time data analysis. Golden Thread has stated parents will be able to upload a video of their child kicking or throwing a ball, and it can be determined if their form combined with their genetics is problematic.
If athletes can not only protect their at-risk areas with padding or wrap, they could also be able to work on their mechanics to ‘break away’ from their muscle memory which may have caused the overcompensating and the deterioration of certain body parts in the first place. ‘
DNA Reports are Already Available
Abramson notes that his company is not unique in the sense that there are a number of sports medicine companies out there that will provide a gene report. The difference he wants to make is to take that information and create a plan around it – for which they have a patent to do.
Abramson hopes to have a prototype to market by the Summer of 2022.