The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a battery of 7 unloaded tests designed to rate human movement competency. Injury rates vary across the different level of a sport. The purpose of this critical review was to determine whether normative FMS composite scores differ across high school, collegiate, and professional athletic populations and to determine whether normative composite scores correlate with rates of severe injury across different collegiate sports.
PubMed, Web of Science, and EBSCO databases from inception to September 2017 with the following syntax: “functional movement screen*” OR “movement screen*”. Additional records were identified by citation tracking and hand search of articles.
A total of 708 records identified, of which 36 were included. Studies were included if they reported a FMS composite score for one of the groups.
Two reviewers (T.R.P. and F.K.) screened records for the author and year; sample size; study design; sport(s); number, age, and sex of participants; testing conditions; methodological quality; and mean or median composite score(s).
Normative FMS composite scores were invariant to level of play, with 61% of reported scores falling between 14 and 16, despite injury rates increasing by level of play. Scores for high school, college, and professional athletes were 14.1, 14.8, and 15.7, respectively. There was a significant positive relationship between composite scores and rate of severe injury in college sports (r(11) = 0.66, P = 0.014).
Our findings potentially undermine the FMS's predictive validity. Although the FMS may have other applications, this critical review provides further evidence against the composite score for injury prediction in competitive athletes.