Functional Movement Screening and Injury Rates in High School and Collegiate Runners: A Retrospective Analysis of 3 Prospective Observational Studies

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Determine if the Functional Movement Screening (FMS) can be used to predict injury in high school and collegiate cross-country and track runners.


Prospective Observational, Cohort Study, Level of Evidence, 2.


High schools and colleges in the Central Ohio area.


Inclusion: (1) cross-country or track runners at participating schools; (2) full participation without restrictions; and (3) signed informed assent or consent. Exclusion: (1) Any injury or lower extremity surgery within 30 days; (2) planned limited participation in the upcoming season; or (3) other participation restrictions.


Functional Movement Screening was completed before the start of each season. Injuries were tracked during the regular season. No interventions were made based on FMS score.

Main Outcome Measures:

Functional Movement Screening scores, including overall, lower extremity, and specific exercises were compared between runners who did and did not sustain an injury using 2 sample t tests. A cutoff FMS score of ≤14 (most common in previous studies), and ≤15 (determined by a receiver operating characteristic curve), were compared using χ2 tests.


One hundred eighty-three runners were enrolled in the study. Overall, 32 (17.5%) runners sustained an injury. Functional Movement Screening score was not accurate in predicting injury for ≤14 (sensitivity: 65.6%; specificity: 39.7%; and area under the curve = 0.501) or ≤15 (sensitivity: 84.4% and specificity: 23.8%). There was no difference in risk of injury for runners with a FMS score of ≤14 (15.5%) and >14 (18.8%) (P = 0.572) or with a FMS score of ≤15 (17.5%) and >15 (17.4%) (P = 0.988).


Functional Movement Screening composite score may not be useful for injury prediction in populations of high school and collegiate runners.

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