Functional movement screening and injury profiling in professional soccer players
Du Toit, Karel Christiaan
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Introduction and aim: The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is the most regularly used musculoskeletal screening tool in professional football but despite its popular use, research related to the FMS and injury in football is limited to youth and amateur players. Recent research suggestions of an “optimal range” for the FMS score may improve its clinical use and relevance, however baseline composite FMS scores in professional football are lacking. African football injury rates have been found to be elevated and this is a cause for concern. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to establish baseline FMS composite scores in a professional football team (Amazulu F.C.) participating in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) and to determine any association between the 2017/2018 pre-season FMS composite scores and injury incidence. The secondary aim of the study was to establish the injury incidence and severity of Amazulu F.C. Methodology: The study design implemented was a prospective cohort study. The participants included 27 professional footballers from Amazulu F.C. participating in the PSL. Participants’ FMS scores were recorded during the pre-season period and injury surveillance was conducted throughout the season. Injury surveillance data was recorded with the use of FIFA’s Medical assessment and research Centre (F-MARC) injury report forms. Data analysis was done to determine the 2017/2018 pre-season FMS composite scores as well as injury incidence for the Amazulu F.C. Wilcoxon-signed ranked tests were utilised to determine any association between 2017/2018 pre-season FMS composite scores and injury incidence. Results: This study found no statistical significant (p=0.34) association between injury and FMS scores for one PSL team over one season. The median FMS composite score obtained by a professional football team in the PSL was 15 and ranged between 11 and 18. The injury incidence of the PSL team for the season was 57 injuries, seven of which were classified as severe, with the knee the most frequently injured anatomical location. Participants in this study who scored 16 on the FMS demonstrated the lowest injury median in comparison to all other participants. Conclusion(s): The baseline FMS score in the Amazulu F.C. professional football players was 15 and may serve as the foundation for future research. This study found no statistical significant association between the pre-season FMS score and injury incidence. This supports the recent literature which states that the FMS is not an injury prediction tool but should rather be seen as a screening tool. The Amazulu F.C. injury surveillance was found to be in-line with recent world football research but, given the small sample size in this study, the results should be interpreted with caution.