Q:

Can Tourette's make someone a better athlete?

A:

Quick Answer

Having Tourette Syndrome is not something anyone can (or would want) to opt into or out of, but some athletes say that living with TS has given them better control of their bodies. Researchers at the University of Nottingham have found that Tourette's patients' brains are physically different from other human brains and better at controlling the body, formed by years of operating under much greater than normal resistance.

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Tim Howard, goalkeeper of the 2014 US World Cup soccer team says that his Tourette Syndrome has given him reflexes and vision that other players don't have. One reason could be that people with Tourette's also tend to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They need to repeat actions until they do it just right, whether it's diving for soccer balls or returning tough ping pong shots.

Scientists at the Tourette Syndrome Association haven't fully embraced this connection between the syndrome and athletic talent, but they are willing to admit that people with TS often see their symptoms subside when they're playing sports or doing something that focuses their attention away from the urge to tic.

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