Mar 4, 2016
Saying Goodbye to Combine Tests?

By Dr. Mike Clark

As more people begin to utilize sports science, data, and analytics to keep athletes healthy, it’s no surprise the National Football Scouting League announced on Feb. 22 the appointment of a committee to evaluate the Combine’s tests. The group is charged with assessing the tests’ relevance for today’s players.

With the rise of injuries at the youth, college, and professional levels and a total of 700 million dollars spent annually on musculoskeletal injuries in the NFL, it’s crucial for decision makers to understand the importance of movement quality more than ever. To increase performance and mitigate an athlete’s risk of injury, I feel there is a lo the Combine can do to provide evidence-based solutions.

Foundation is Key: Data and analytics have been a key driver for most teams in determining overall health of the athlete. Acquiring the right data is important, but the foundational elements of individual athlete movement quality must also be addressed. Collecting data at the initial testing can produce effective solutions for maintaining or strengthening performance and careers.

Rookie Mistakes: The NFL can take a significant step forward in providing evidence-based movement tests and corrective interventions to all athletes attending the Combine. We often see rookies getting injured during training camps and we’ve seen that a high percentage of these injuries are preventable. Working with Fusionetics, a technology-enabled human performance platform, the movement efficiency test takes less than two minutes to perform. After the test, targeted, evidence-based corrective intervention is generated in real time.

Future Generations: Not only can the NFL address the needs of current NFL athletes, but it should consider taking a proactive approach to set the stage for the next generation of NFL stars. The NFL can apply these same protocols regarding movement quality to all youth affiliated organizations, such as USA Football. Providing movement efficiency tests and targeted corrective interventions can help athletes understand, monitor, and enhance their performance.

Mike Clark, DPT, MS, PES, CES, is the founder and CEO of Fusionetics, an evidence based, technology-enabled human performance platform focused on sports medicine, sports performance optimization, injury prevention, and recovery enhancement. He is also the founder of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the creator of the NASM Optimum Performance Training System. Dr. Clark was previously the Team Physical Therapist for the Phoenix Suns for 13 seasons and the Chief Science Officer of Sharecare.

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