The Reason For Injury
Working in the clinic for the past eight years, and during the seven years of schooling before that, I’ve come across a lot of injured athletes. From my years as a student athletic trainer at Vanguard University, to the time spent working with elite level athletes with USA volleyball, to the high school cross country runner in the clinic, every athelte comes for treatment for two reasons. Either they had a traumatic event which caused them injury, or they have no idea why their body is hurting. I’ve always been intrguiged with the later. Discovering why someone is having right knee pain on the front of their knee is a fun task. Why not the left knee? Why not the inside of the knee? What I’ve come to realize, is that most people chalk up an injury with unkown origin to bad luck, weakness, or too much training. These all could be factors to their injury, but I’ve come to discover that there is a lot more than that. As I evaluate athlete after athlete, I see patterns of movement dysfunction. My job as the therapist is to find those movement dyfunctions which are causing more stress to that particular body region, and then then set up a plan to eliminate as much of that stress as possible and provide health promotion. So you see, the reason for injury, while it is sometimes a mystery to us, always has its origin in dysfunction.
Catch the Dysfunction Before Injury
As I sit with the athlete in the clinic I walk them through their past. “These are the things which have led you to this point.” For example, the 15 year old volleyball girl with knee pain has been thrashing her patellar tendon for a year. Her hips have hardly any stability, her core couldn’t sustain a 9 year old, IT bands have become as tight as a guitar string and she is wondering why she is having pain with jumping 100 time a practice. We then go through the process of restoring the mobility and stability necessary, establishing new movement patterns and helping her integrate them into her sport.
What if we could do this same process, but instead of looking into the past to explain how the injury occurred, we could look into the future and explain what might happen?
The fact is these dysfunctional movement patterns are present long before an injury occurs. What if we could evaluate the athlete before an injury even occurs to help them correct risky movement patterns? This is exactly what Injury Prediction Screens are all about.
Here are some of the tools we have to do injury prediction screens. Our main tool we use is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), but depending on the athlete’s sport and position we can use other tests to supplement the data received through the FMS.
- Functional Movement Screen (FMS): This is a nationally used movement screen which helps point out movement dysfunctions in atheltes. This screen is being regularyl performed with most professional and national level athletes. In fact, we’ve performed this screen on the USA National Volleyball Teams
- Other Functional Tests: This may involve a single leg squat assessment, Y-Balance Test, or other measures
- Clinical Tests and Measurements: Depending on your sport and position, we may perform some other measures. For example, a baseball pitcher should have their shoulder range of motion measured and the shoulder blade stability assessed.
- Performance Testing: Using some performance measures will allow the coach and player to get a better idea of their overall preparedness for their sport. For example, results of an endurance test will let you know if their overall physical fitness needs to improve.
TEAM INJURY PREDICTION SCREENINGS
We perform Injury Prediction Screens on a one-on-one basis, as well as in teams. There are several benefits to having a team-wide injury prediction screen before the season begins.
- Get a Team Injury Risk Score to see how healthy your team is going into the season
- Now the coach doesn’t need to come into the season with fingers crossed hoping for a healthy season. There is some objective data we can use to assess the injury risk of the team.
- Team-wide corrective exercises: See if there is a common dysfunction with the team and address it. Work as a team to prevent common injuries in your sport with corrective exercises woven into your regular practice warm-up and cool down.
- We come to your place of practice so there is no need to change your regular practice schedule and location.
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Read the article printed in the OC Register covering the Injury Prediction Screenings we did with USA Volleyball