Stuart McGill: Can Movement Quality Predict Future Injuries?

Stuart McGill discusses injury prediction, movement quality and why you should pay attention to the many variables in the studies that you read. Is it really saying what you think it’s saying?

With these preliminary thoughts under our belts, let’s get to the real seminal question:

Can movement quality predict future injuries?

I want to show you some of our work with police, firefighters and athlete groups. The work of Tim Hewett and Greg Myer from Cincinnati is a successful study of specific injury—ACL injuries of female basketball players. The injury cases clustered on the injury mechanism variables. Their success proves screening for injury mechanisms with appropriate intervention is possible and it works to reduce specific injuries.

In a small study, we followed an NCAA basketball team. The power of this study was in the extent of the number of variables we looked at. We measured their endurance, their bodyweight strength, their absolute strength and their hip mobility.

We did movement assessments on them. Interestingly enough, the ones who got hurt had a higher FMS. Hold that fact for a moment and follow my next thoughts.

This is a soon-to-be-published study on sprinters and cross-country runners. It found that every increase in the FMS score increased injury risk one and-a-half times.

Many people are now finding some relationship like this—we’re not the only ones. Are we missing something?

Could it be exposure?

Going back to our basketball study, I think the answer is yes. The better players are better athletes. They have a better FMS. They have more than double the playing time of many of their teammates. Now, this is starting to disguise the true relationships of measuring movement quality with screens.

I’ve been in the occupational world for 30 years and that’s exactly what they have found. You must control exposure if you’re going to compare scientific studies and glean out what those scientific studies actually contain.

Don’t fall for reading only the abstracts.

Interested in more from Stuart McGill, Gray Cook and Craig Liebenson?
Here are a few more clips from Assessing Movement

stuart mcgill gray cook video, stuart mcgill functional movement screen review, stuart mcgill craig liebenson video