Football Conditioning, Training and FMS™ for injury prevention

By Laura Wenger, PT, DPT

It’s football season, which means that as the leaves begin to fall, Saturdays and Sundays are becoming filled with more time in front of the television to cheer on your favorite teams. Whether you or a family member are playing football recreationally, competitively, or simply just tossing the ball in the yard, the importance of injury prevention in this American pastime is undeniable. One tool that the NFL has implemented in their pre-season training to identify players who are more at risk for injury is called the Functional Movement ScreenTM, or FMSTM, which was created by physical therapist Gray Cook, MS, PT, OCS, CSCS.1, 2

So, how does the FMSTM work? The participant is put through a series of seven different activities and movements, including squatting, lunging, and flexibility and stability tests. As the participant performs the specified activities, they are graded on the overall quality of their motion as the rater looks for any asymmetries, poor mechanics, or compensatory movements. The purpose of the screening is to help identify any imbalances that the person may have that would indicate increased risk for injury.1 Research studies have determined score threshholds for this reliable screening that indicate increased injury risk, for which norms have been established based on the age and gender of the participant.2,3,4

For any recreational or team athlete, a qualified physical therapist has the tools needed for this assessment to take a good look at your movement during certain activities. Similar to what the NFL has employed, the FMS™ test can tell you if there are any obvious asymmetries or poor mechanics in your movement that could indicate areas where you are more prone to hurt yourself during your favorite activities. Even if you do not already have an injury, the information from this screen can be used for prevention purposes and help you figure out what steps you can take to avoid injury with the guidance of a physical therapist.

Call us today to set up an appointment and have the quality of your movements assessed by one of our well-qualified physical therapists. Through the FMS™ and other tools, we can detect your injury risk and identify ways for you to avoid hurting yourself, both on or off the field!

References:
1. Functional Movement Systems. http://www.functionalmovement.com. Updated 2014. Accessed on October 4, 2014.
2. Kiesel K, Plisky PJ, Voight ML. Can serious injury in professional football be predicted by a preseason functional movement screen? North Amer Journal of Sports Phys Ther. 2007; 2(3): 147-158.
3. Schneiders AG, Davidsson A, Horman E, Sullivan SJ. Functional Movement ScreenTM Normative Values in a Young, Active Population. The Intl Journ of Sports Phys Ther. 2011; 6(2): 75-82.
4. Teyhen DS, Shaffer SW, Lorenson CL, Halfpap JP, Donofry DF, Walker MJ, Dugan JL, Childs JD. The Functional Movement Screen: A Reliability Study. J Orthop Phys Ther. 2012; 42(6): 530-540.