Deficits in joint mobility and/or stability could certainly impact individuals' Functional Movement Screen (FMS) scores; however, it is also plausible that the movement patterns observed are influenced by the performers' knowledge of the grading criteria. Twenty-one firefighters volunteered to participate and their FMS scores were graded before and immediately after receiving knowledge of the movement patterns required to achieve a perfect score on the FMS. Standardized verbal instructions were used to administer both screens and participants were not provided with any coaching or feedback. Time synchronized sagittal and frontal plane videos were used to grade the FMS. The firefighters significantly (p<0.001) improved their FMS scores from 14.1 (1.8) to 16.7 (1.9) when provided with knowledge pertaining to the specific grading criteria. Significant improvements (p<0.05) were also noted in the deep squat [1.4 (0.7) to 2.0 (0.6)], hurdle step [2.1 (0.4) to 2.4 (0.5)], in-line lunge [2.1 (0.4) to 2.7 (0.5)], and shoulder mobility [1.8 (0.8) to 2.4 (0.7)] tests. Because knowledge of a task's grading criteria can alter a general whole-body movement screen score, FMS or otherwise, observed changes may not solely reflect "dysfunction". The instant that individuals are provided with coaching and feedback regarding their performance on a particular task, the task may lose its utility to evaluate the transfer of training or predict musculoskeletal injury risk.
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