Can Functional Movement Assessment Predict Football Head Impact Biomechanics?

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Abstract

Purpose

To determine functional movement assessments’ ability to predict head impact biomechanics in college football players, and to determine whether head impact biomechanics could explain preseason to postseason changes in functional movement performance.

Methods

Participants (N = 44, mass = 109.0 ± 20.8 kg, age = 20.0 ± 1.3 years) underwent two preseason and postseason functional movement assessment screenings: 1) Fusionetics Movement Efficiency Test, and 2) Landing Error Scoring System (LESS). Fusionetics is scored 0 to 100, and participants were categorized into the following movement quality groups as previously published: good (≥75); moderate (50 to 75); and poor (<50). The LESS is scored 0 to 17, and participants were categorized into the following previously published movement quality groups: good (≤5 errors); moderate (6-7 errors); and poor (> 7 errors). The Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System measured head impact frequency and magnitude (linear acceleration and rotational acceleration). An encoder with six single-axis accelerometers was inserted between the padding of a commercially available Riddell football helmet. We employed random intercepts general linear mixed models to analyze our data.

Results

There were no effects of preseason movement assessment group on the two HIT System impact outcomes: linear acceleration and rotational acceleration. Head impact frequency did not significantly predict preseason to postseason score changes obtained from the Fusionetics (F1,36 = 0.22, P = 0.643, R2=0.006) or the LESS (F1,36 < 0.01 p = 0.988, R2<0.001) assessments.

Conclusions

Previous research has demonstrated an association between concussion and musculoskeletal injury, as well as functional movement assessment performance and musculoskeletal injury. The functional movement assessments chosen may not be sensitive enough to detect neurological and neuromuscular differences within the sample and subtle changes after sustaining head impacts.

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