Thursday, October 1, 2015

Injury Prediction and Reduction

I came across this particular study ("Examination of the Effectiveness of Predictors for Musculoskeletal Injuries in Female Soldiers") on my Facebook news feed regarding the predictive ability of various assessments regarding injury, and I was going to share it there with a few comments. On reflection, I thought that a) it would probably be a little long for a shared link, and b) it might be better served through a quick blog entry.

Firstly, in the interest of full disclosure - I hardly consider myself an authority on reading and interpreting the results of any study, and in this case I only read the abstract (which I linked above). That being said, a few of the things that jump out at me:
  • The FMS when used as a whole overall score, did not offer any predictive value towards injury potential as no significant differences were noted between the injured and uninjured group in terms of overall FMS score. However, those scoring zeros (which is an indication of pain) during one or more movements screened had a higher occurrence of injury.
  • A lower score in three particular fitness tests (in this case defined by anthropometry, a single leg triple hop jump and a 2km run) was a noticeable predictor of injury, and even more so when combined with zero scores in the FMS as well as the 10m sprint. That being said, they state that more testing is needed to determine the threshold for these categories in their predictive ability.
  • There are a few limitations to the study: they are all soldiers, they are all female, and there are only 145 participants. 
  • Further, the abstract does not specify what the training protocol used during the three months of training were, what the types of injuries are, or the level of competence in the individuals performing the FMS (the last point being something that proponents of the FMS mention virtually every time one of these studies fails to support the FMS as an overall predictor of injury).

In short - within the constraints of this particular study, those who have pain in certain fundamental unloaded movements, and those who are in a decreased level of fitness, stand a greater chance of being injured... even more so if these occur in a combination.

In other words - if it hurts to move a certain way, and/or you're unfit, you're more likely to get hurt training.

I think we tend to over-complicate things as fitness professionals in an effort to "sell" the next great system or ourselves, and probably do a disservice to the public that looks to us for guidance by doing so.



Side note: I'm open to any comments and respectful dialogue/debate about the above, but if you are so set in your thoughts that there's no way you'd ever consider a different point of view, I likely won't continue responding. Also, if you in any way begin to troll or become rude/spiteful, I'll delete your comment. Dissension is welcome - it's how we all learn - but etiquette and manners are fundamental in a debate. In my blog, anyway.