Injury identification: The efficacy of the Functional Movement Screen in female and male rugby union players

Ross Armstrong, Matt Greig

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Background: Rugby union is a collision sport which is associated with a high injury rate and therefore the development of effective injury prevention strategies is required. Purpose: This study aimed to determine whether Functional Movement Screening (FMS) components can predict injury in female and male rugby union players and whether differences exist in the FMS scores of injured and non-injured players. Study Design: Prospective cohort study. Methods: Sixty-four female university rugby union players (age: 20.39 ± 1.91 years) and 55 male university rugby union players (age: 21.05 ± 1.35 years) completed the FMS which assesses 7 functional movements on a scale of 0 to 3 and provides a score out of 21. Players were subsequently monitored for injury during the season and injury rates calculated. Results: The training injury rates for females were 5.80 injuries/1000 hours and males 5.34 injuries/1000 hours while the match injury rates for females was 55.56 injuries/1000 hours and males 46.30 injuries/1000 hours. FMS composite score demonstrated a significant difference between injured females and non-injured males (p = 0.01) and a pooled comparison of injured and non-injured subjects was significant (p = 0.01). FMS composite score was not a good predictor of injury however FMS individual components predicted 37.4% of the variance in total days injured in females. ROC curve analysis revealed an injury cut off score of 11.5 for females and males and provided a sensitivity and specificity of 0.90 and 0.86 and 0.88 and 1.00 respectively. The pooled FMS composite score of ‘multiple injuries’ participants demonstrated no significant difference to non-injured (p = 0.31) and single injury subjects (p = 0.76). Conclusion: Injury rates between female rugby and male rugby were similar with match injury rates higher in females. The FMS can be used to identify those players with the potential to develop injury and the FMS injury cut off point were 11.5 for female rugby and male rugby. Individual components of the FMS are a better predictor of injury than FMS composite score
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-617
JournalThe International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number4
Early online date1 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2018


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