This Injury Prevention Assessment Fails Again

The functional movement screen (FMS) is popular with many personal trainers, but it doesn’t seem to be as popular with researchers. Here’s a recent review that suggests the FMS is not a great tool to predict injury:

Do Functional Movement Screen (FMS) composite scores predict subsequent injury? A systematic review with meta-analysis.
RW Moran, AG Schneiders, J Mason, SJ Sullivan

Aim: This paper aims to systematically review studies investigating the strength of association between FMS composite scores and subsequent risk of injury, taking into account both methodological quality and clinical and methodological diversity.

Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Data sources: A systematic search of electronic databases was conducted for the period between their inception and 3 March 2016 using PubMed, Medline, Google Scholar, Scopus, Academic Search Complete, AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine Database), CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), Health Source and SPORTDiscus.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies: Inclusion criteria: (1) English language, (2) observational prospective cohort design, (3) original and peer-reviewed data, (4) composite FMS score, used to define exposure and non-exposure groups and (5) musculoskeletal injury, reported as the outcome. Exclusion criteria: (1) data reported in conference abstracts or non-peer-reviewed literature, including theses, and (2) studies employing cross-sectional or retrospective study designs.

Results: 24 studies were appraised using the Quality of Cohort Studies assessment tool. In male military personnel, there was ‘strong’ evidence that the strength of association between FMS composite score (cut-point ≤14/21) and subsequent injury was ‘small’ (pooled risk ratio=1.47, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.77, p<0.0001, I2=57%). There was ‘moderate’ evidence to recommend against the use of FMS composite score as an injury prediction test in football (soccer). For other populations (including American football, college athletes, basketball, ice hockey, running, police and firefighters), the evidence was ‘limited’ or ‘conflicting’.

Conclusion: The strength of association between FMS composite scores and subsequent injury does not support its use as an injury prediction tool.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t try to assess dysfunction with your clients. Train them! Choose appropriate exercises to achieve their goals and start them at an appropriate level. Assess them during training – monitor their performance and refine the prescription to suit their individual needs, e.g., adjust the grip, stance, range of motion, or loading parameters of an exercise, or change the exercise altogether. That’s the art of coaching.

Bottom-Line: Be a personal trainer, not a (mis)fortune teller!

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