Functional movement screening as a predictor of injury in male and female university rugby union players

Ross Armstrong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding (ISBN)peer-review

40 Downloads (Pure)


Relevance: This study is relevant to the theme of research, education and practice and aims to develop evidence based practice in injury prevention in university rugby union and formulate clinical guidelines. Purpose: Functional movement screening (FMS) is used to identify movement pattern deficiencies. Previous research has suggested that that those individuals who achieve a score of less than 14 on the FMS experience a 4-fold increase in injury risk. The study aimed to determine the relationship between FMS scores and the likelihood of injury in male and female university rugby union players which could be used to formulate injury prevention guidelines. Methods/analysis: Forty university rugby union players (20 males, 20 females, 20.3 years±0.7) volunteered to participate in this prospective cohort study and were recruited at training. FMS scoring was obtained pre-season and required performance of 7 functional movements each scored from 0 to 3. Participants competed in rugby union at a competitive level (≥2 hours/week) for at least 3 years and were injury free for 3 months prior to the study. FMS Inter-rater reliability was determined prior to screening (Pearsons correlation coefficient, r 0.99, sample n = 20). Injury was defined as any pain or disability that prevented the participant from participating in or completing a training session or match. Injury type, location and severity were recorded and training and match exposure were recorded. FMS screening and injury data collection was performed by a Chartered Physiotherapist (13 years post qualifying). Data analysis was performed using Pearson’s and Spearman’s Correlation statistical analysis, a Receiver Operator Curve, 2×2 Contingency Table and Fishers test to determine whether FMS can predict injury. Results: A score of 14 or less on the FMS was positive to predict injury with specificity of 0.84 and sensitivity of 0.65. The odds ratio was 10.21, positive likelihood ratio 4.06 and the negative likelihood ratio 0.35. A total of 31 injuries occurred (20 injuries in 13 males, 11 injuries in 7 females. Participants achieving FMS score of≤14 were 10 times more likely to sustain an injury. The FMS screening was statistically significant predictor for injury (Fisher’s test, P = 0.01). The mean FMS score for injured males was 13.84±4.16 and for females 12.85±2.15 while the FMS mean score for non-injured males was 17.37±0.63 and females 16.40±1.60. Discussion and conclusions: The results suggest fundamental movement is an identifiable risk factor for injury in university rugby union players. Those players scoring ≤14 have a greater likelihood of injury. These findings are in agreement with previous findings in other sports including female collegiate sports. The utilisation of the FMS screening in pre-season is beneficial to identify functional deficiencies in university rugby union players most likely to sustain injury. Future research could investigate a more diverse group of sports and investigate the individual components of the FMS. Impact and implications: Preseason fundamental movement screening may be used to identify those individuals most at risk of injury and therefore may allow appropriate injury prevention programmes to be implemented. Funding acknowledgement: No funding was required.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNot Known
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2016
EventEuropean Region of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Nov 201612 Nov 2016


ConferenceEuropean Region of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional movement screening as a predictor of injury in male and female university rugby union players'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this