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Preseason Functional Movement Screen Component Tests Predict Severe Contact Injuries in Professional Rugby Union Players

Tee, Jason C.; Klingbiel, Jannie F.G.; Collins, Robert; Lambert, Mike I.; Coopoo, Yoga

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: November 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 11 - p 3194–3203
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001422
Original Research
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Tee, JC, Klingbiel, JFG, Collins, R, Lambert, MI, and Coopoo, Y. Preseason Functional Movement Screen component tests predict severe contact injuries in professional rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res 30(11): 3194–3203, 2016—Rugby union is a collision sport with a relatively high risk of injury. The ability of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) or its component tests to predict the occurrence of severe (≥28 days) injuries in professional players was assessed. Ninety FMS test observations from 62 players across 4 different time periods were compared with severe injuries sustained during 6 months after FMS testing. Mean composite FMS scores were significantly lower in players who sustained severe injury (injured 13.2 ± 1.5 vs. noninjured 14.5 ± 1.4, Effect Size = 0.83, large) because of differences in in-line lunge (ILL) and active straight leg raise scores (ASLR). Receiver-operated characteristic curves and 2 × 2 contingency tables were used to determine that ASLR (cut-off 2/3) was the injury predictor with the greatest sensitivity (0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.79–1.0). Adding the ILL in combination with ASLR (ILL + ASLR) improved the specificity of the injury prediction model (ASLR specificity = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.18–0.43 vs. ASLR + ILL specificity = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.39–0.66, p ≤ 0.05). Further analysis was performed to determine whether FMS tests could predict contact and noncontact injuries. The FMS composite score and various combinations of component tests (deep squat [DS] + ILL, ILL + ASLR, and DS + ILL + ASLR) were all significant predictors of contact injury. The FMS composite score also predicted noncontact injury, but no component test or combination thereof produced a similar result. These findings indicate that low scores on various FMS component tests are risk factors for injury in professional rugby players.

1Department of Sport and Movement Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa;

2Golden Lions Rugby Union, Johannesburg, South Africa;

3Section Sports Medicine, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and

4UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Address correspondence to Jason C. Tee, jasonctee@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.