Objective: To examine the association between a neuronal structural protein polymorphism and the frequency and severity of concussions in college athletes.
Methods: Forty-eight athletes with previous self-reported history of a concussion were matched with 48 controls that did not report a history of concussion. Each group was genotyped for neurofilament heavy (NEFH) polymorphism rs#165602 in this retrospective case-control study.
Results: There was no significant association (χ(2 )= 0.487, p = 0.485) between carrying the NEFH rare allele and a history of one or more concussions due to small effect sizes. A Fisher's exact test revealed no significant association (p = 1.00, ϕ = -0.03) between the presence of NEFH rare allele and a history of multiple concussions. The independent t-tests revealed no significant differences in duration of signs and symptoms (t = 1.41, p = 0.17, d = 0.48) or return to play (t = 0.23, p = 0.82, d = 0.08) between NEFH rare allele carrier and non-carriers.
Conclusions: Among college athletes, carrying the rare allele assessed may not influence an athlete's susceptibility to sustaining a concussion or return to play duration following a concussion.