Integration of the Functional Movement Screen Into the National Hockey League Combine

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Abstract

Rowan, CP, Kuropkat, C, Gumieniak, RJ, Gledhill, N, and Jamnik, VK. Integration of the Functional Movement Screen into the National Hockey League Combine. J Strength Cond Res 29(5): 1163–1171, 2015—The sport of ice hockey requires coordination of complex skills involving musculoskeletal and physiological abilities while simultaneously exposing players to a high risk for injury. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was developed to assess fundamental movement patterns that underlie both sport performance and injury risk. The top 111 elite junior hockey players from around the world took part in the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft Combine (NHL Combine). The FMS was integrated into the comprehensive medical and physiological fitness evaluations at the request of strength and conditioning coaches with affiliations to NHL teams. The inclusion of the FMS aimed to help develop strategies that could maximize its utility among elite hockey players and to encourage or inform further research in this field. This study evaluated the outcomes of integrating the FMS into the NHL Combine and identified any links to other medical plus physical and physiological fitness assessment outcomes. These potential associations may provide valuable information to identify elements of future training programs that are individualized to athletes' specific needs. The results of the FMS (total score and number of asymmetries identified) were significantly correlated to various body composition measures, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, leg power, timing of recent workouts, and the presence of lingering injury at the time of the NHL Combine. Although statistically significant correlations were observed, the implications of the FMS assessment outcomes remain difficult to quantify until ongoing assessment of FMS patterns, tracking of injuries, and hockey performance are available.

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