Football Injury Prevention

Posted on August 21, 2014

Football is a unique sport in the fact that it involves a lot of contact. That contact can lead to more injuries than we tend to see in other sports. Some contact injuries are a result of bad luck. No matter how strong or flexible you are, if you get hit in the wrong way, you’ll be injured no matter what. However, a lot of injuries are preventable. Even if they result from contact, if the player had more strength and stability, they could have braced their body in a way, or been aligned in a way, that could have helped prevent injury.

Description: Diagram of common football injuries

As Physical Therapists, we don’t just pride ourselves in rehabilitating patients after injury, but also in our ability to train individuals how to move better to prevent injury. One useful tool we use to assess injury risk and then how to stretch and strengthen to prevent injury, is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). The FMS is an evidence-based screen scored on a 21 point scale to estimate one’s risk for injury. Not only do we use it to demonstrate someone’s injury risk, but we then use it to find your weak spots and direct which treatments will be most effective in getting you more mobile and stabile to be at less risk for potential injury.Description: Functional Movement Screen (FMS)

The seven tests in the FMS are:

  1. Overhead Deep Squat
  2. Hurdle Step
  3. Inline Lunge
  4. Trunk Stability Push-up
  5. Rotary Stability
  6. Shoulder Mobility
  7. Active Straight Leg Raise

Research has shown that a score of 13/21 or worse means you are at significant risk for injury and probably should not be participating in your sport until your score improves.

All of our Physical Therapists are trained and able to run any patient through this screen to determine their potential risk for injury, and to then guide treatment for proper stretching and strengthening exercises.  With those improvements, the goal would be that you are now at less risk for injury. For example, if you’re a lineman with a poor squat, you’re definitely at more risk for injury in your 3-point stance. All these tests can be applied to all positions and show how poor performance indicates risk for injury.

This test isn’t just football specific. It applies to all sports and with movement in general. Curious how you’re moving and if you’re at risk for injury? Call today to schedule an FMS and Physical Therapy evaluation and we’ll help you move better and safer!

– Dane Happeny, DPT

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