A Sporting Chance - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

A Sporting Chance

BOULDER, CO (WFLX) - If you could take a test to determine how successful you'll be, would you do it?  What about for your kids? 

Many parents are pondering that very question, thanks to a new genetic test. 

It can help determine which sports your children will be best at.  But some say the test goes too far.

Seth Rodando's only 9 months old.  At this point, his life mostly revolves around sleeping and eating.  But in a few years, like many other little boys and girls, chances are sports will enter the picture.

"I hope that he has some sense of athleticism but I'm not gonna be disappointed if he doesn't."

The good news is, Seth's mom Ciera wouldn't have to wait long to find out.

The company is called Atlas Sports Genetics based out of Boulder, Colorado.  President Kevin Reilly says its business is evaluating the athletic performance of high school and college athletes.

Yet the company also offers another service directed at the parents of young children.  A service, Reilly says, will help them determine which kind of sport their child may be best suited for genetically.

For a $169 mom and dad send away for a kit that includes two cotton swabs.  The instructions are simple.  Swab the inside of the child's cheek and send it back.  Atlas Sports Genetics then mails the swabs to an Australian lab to find out whether or not the child has a specific variation of DNA that would allow him or her to excel in either power sports like football, endurance sports like cross country, or both.

"If kids aren't given the opportunity to see where their genetic potential may have them best suited for I think they're doing a disservice."

Others like Swim Coach Frank Busch beg to differ.  "When you start limiting people's opportunities, I think we're going the wrong way and we're taking challenges away because supposedly they're not gened up for that."

Yet another significant part of the debate is the potential conflict having such information could cause.

"If a mom knows a kid's gonna be a distance runner, [she is] geared that way. But what if at 15 the kids says I don't want to be a runner.  Now mom and dad say you're gonna run distance because this is what you're best at."

"The question is why are you doing it and what benefit is it going to be on a certain age group."

Which brings us back to Seth and Ciera.  Ciera volunteered to have Seth tested.  The results showed that he has a mix of both power and endurance genes.  "That's really exciting."

In the end though, the results aren't something Ciera says she takes too seriously.  "I wouldn't force him to do something he doesn't want to do because some test told me that's what he should do.  Part of growing up is adjusting.  That's another part of learning you can't just take away from him."

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