Aug 26, 2016Movement Screens Predict Injury
This article first appeared in the September 2016 issue of Training & Conditioning.
Sports medicine professionals at High Point University hope that turning research into practice will help them prevent injuries in their athletes. Earlier this year, a study by Eric Hegedus, DPT, Chair of the school’s Physical Therapy Department, revealed that certain movement screening tests could identify which athletes were at the greatest risk for injury. Now, those same tests are being used to keep High Point athletes healthy.
Dr. Hegedus’ investigation, “Physical Performance Tests Predict Injury in National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletes: A Three-Season Prospective Cohort Study,” appeared online in January ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The study tracked 359 High Point athletes who underwent a series of movement screens. After monitoring their subsequent injuries over a period of three years, Hegedus found that the results from hip stability and active motion tests correlated with overall injury rates and those related to motor control tests corresponded to non-traumatic injury.
Josh Geruso, MS, ATC, CSCS, PES, CES, High Point’s Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine, is now leading an effort to incorporate the study’s results to help current and future Panther athletes. “We’re going to use some of Dr. Hegedus’ screenings to identify players who are at a high risk of injury,” Geruso says. “Then, we’re going to take steps to keep them healthy and on the court or field. We may never know whether we’ve prevented an athlete from suffering a torn ACL, but we think that will be the result.”
The project started this summer with screenings of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Each player went through seven tests-full squat, single-leg squat bilaterally, side plank hip abduction bilaterally, side plank hip adduction bilaterally, in-line lunge for distance bilaterally, and side lunge for distance bilaterally-which were pared down from the 16 tests used in the study to save time. It took seven to 10 minutes for each athlete to complete the tests, and they were filmed and scored from video.
After the screens were finished, Geruso collaborated with Dr. Hegedus and High Point’s strength and conditioning staff to develop programs to address each athlete’s identified movement deficiencies and dysfunction. He expects these individual programs will account for five to 10 minutes of a typical one-hour training session.
Next summer, Geruso will analyze the injuries sustained by the basketball teams during the 2016-17 season to determine the effectiveness of the injury prevention project. In the future, he hopes to expand the screening process. “We would love to test all 300 of our athletes now, but that would be overwhelming for our staff,” he says. “We’ll look at our injury data to determine which sports we’ll add next-it will likely be either the two lacrosse teams or the two soccer teams due to their relatively high risk of injury. Eventually, we’d like to bring Dr. Hegedus’ movement screen to all High Point teams.”