Birth month can influence sports success, study says

Wed Feb 3, 2010 9:52am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Could you be the next David Beckham or Michael Jordan? An Australian researcher has found your chances of becoming a professional sportsperson could depend on your birthday.

Senior research fellow Adrian Barnett from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation found that a person's birth month could determine their health and fitness.

The results of the study are published in a book, "Analysing Seasonal Health Data," which Barnett co-authored with researcher Annette Dobson from the University of Queensland.

Barnett analyzed the birthdays of professional Australian Football League (AFL) players and found a disproportionate number had their birthdays in the early months of the year, while a fewer number were born in the later months, especially December.

The Australian school year begins in January.

"Children who are taller have an obvious advantage when playing the football code of AFL," Barnett said in a statement issued by the book's publishers, Springer.

"If you were born in January, you have almost 12 months' growth ahead of your classmates born late in the year, so whether you were born on December 31st or January 1st could have a huge effect on your life."

Barnett found there were 33 percent more professional AFL players than expected with birthdays in January and 25 percent fewer in December.

He said the results mirrored other international studies which found a link between being born near the start of school year and the chances of becoming a professional player in the sports of ice hockey, football, volleyball and basketball.   Continued...

<p>The Adelaide Crows' Andrew McLeod in action during the Australian Football League (AFL) grand final against St. Kilda at the Melbourne Cricket Ground September 27, 1997. REUTERS/Darrin Braybrook</p>