Preseason Functional Test Scores Are Associated With Future Sports Injury in Female Collegiate Athletes

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Abstract

Brumitt, J, Heiderscheit, B, Manske, R, Niemuth, PE, Mattocks, A, and Rauh, MJ. Preseason functional test scores are associated with future sports injury in female collegiate athletes. J Strength Cond Res 32(6): 1692–1701, 2018—Recent prospective cohort studies have reported preseason functional performance test (FPT) measures and associations with future risk of injury; however, the findings associated with these studies have been equivocal. The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of a battery of FPTs as a preseason screening tool to identify female Division III (D III) collegiate athletes who may be at risk for a noncontact time-loss injury to the lower quadrant (LQ = low back and lower extremities). One hundred six female D III athletes were recruited for this study. Athletes performed 3 FPTs: standing long jump (SLJ), single-leg hop (SLH) for distance, and the lower extremity functional test (LEFT). Time-loss sport-related injuries were tracked during the season. Thirty-two (24 initial and 8 subsequent) time-loss LQ injuries were sustained during the study. Ten of the 24 initial injuries occurred at the thigh and knee. At-risk athletes with suboptimal FPT measures (SLJ ≤79% ht; (B) SLH ≤64% ht; LEFT ≥118 seconds) had significantly greater rates of initial (7.2 per 1,000 athletic exposures [AEs]) and total (7.6 per 1,000 AEs) time-loss thigh or knee injuries than the referent group (0.9 per 1,000 AEs; 1.0 per 1,000 AEs, respectively). At-risk athletes were 9 times more likely to experience a thigh or knee injury (odds ratio [OR] = 9.7, confidence interval [CI]: 2.3–39.9; p = 0.002) than athletes in the referent group. At-risk athletes with a history of LQ sports injury and lower off-season training habits had an 18-fold increased risk of a time-loss thigh or knee injury during the season (adjusted OR = 18.7, CI: 3.0–118.1; p = 0.002). This battery of FPTs appears useful as a tool for identifying female D III athletes at risk of an LQ injury, especially to the thigh or knee region.

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