Football Screening Results explained
Why we do a screening
In football, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive range of screenings to ensure optimal preparation and good health, which are essential for athletic success. These screenings serve the purpose of capturing baseline data, identifying existing health issues, and stratifying athletes based on their risk levels. Furthermore, they provide invaluable knowledge and tools for enhancing performance and minimizing the risk of injury.
Injury history plays a significant role in these screenings. It is imperative to assess a player’s injury history and timeline, as it helps in identifying potential risk factors for specific injuries in individual athletes. Armed with this information, a secondary prevention program can be implemented, along with any necessary return-to-sport protocols. Common football injuries such as hamstring tears, groin injuries, knee injuries, and ankle sprains can be better managed through this approach.
Assessing the range of motion is another critical aspect of these screenings. By evaluating the available range of movement at various joints, mobility differences between sides can be identified and compared to normative data. Specific assessments, such as hip flexor length, hamstring length, slump test, and ankle range, play a crucial role in detecting neurodynamics, nerve tissue sensitivity, and ankle joint movement.
Moreover, muscle strength tests are integral to the screening process, as they help in identifying strength disparities between sides and assessing the impact of any prior injuries. Particularly, assessing abdominal strength is vital for optimizing the overall control of motion and force transfer to peripheral limbs, such as the legs.
The thorough screenings conducted in football can play a pivotal role in safeguarding the health and performance of athletes, by addressing injury risks, mobility differences, and muscle strength imbalances. This proactive approach enables players to perform at their best and minimizes the likelihood of injuries, ultimately contributing to their long-term success in the sport.
Below is a more in-depth look at each of the tests RHP includes.
RANGE OF MOTION:
Assessing the available range of movement at a joint. These tests identify any flexibility concerns related to your quadriceps and hip flexors, with differences between sides or reduced range of motion resulting in limits to optimal movement.
Hip Flexor Length: The ability for the leg to go behind the body (hip extension).
Hamstring Length: The ability for the kicking leg to move forward and upwards towards the chest.
Slump Test: Is a neural (nerve) tension test used to detect altered neurodynamics or nerve tissue sensitivity. Nerve tissue sensitivity can occur during and after growth spurts as nerves take time to grow and adapt to height increases; or in relation to spinal issues or limited hamstring length.
Ankle Range (Knee-to-wall): Is used to assess the dorsiflexion range of movement (the amount of ankle bend) at the ankle joint. This is a common test to monitor the recovery from ankle and other lower limb injuries (calf muscle, overuse, knee injuries and more.
Muscle strength is defined as the ability of a muscle to contract and produce maximum force in a single effort or in repeated repetitions.Strength tests help to identify strength differences between sides in the presence or absence of injury. After injury, muscle weakness is a common feature and can affect sporting function. We can compare your results between limbs and provide feedback that compares you to normative data from football athletes of similar age and gender.
Abdominal Strength: Optimizes the transfer and overall control of motion and force to the limbs e.g. legs and feet. An unstable trunk or foundation can reduce the dynamic strength production, influencing movement during a play in training or competition.
Hip Abduction: Moving the legs away from the midline is abduction. Hip abduction strength is an important factor in hip, knee and ankle injury prevention. It is also often weaker when tested in people suffering from pain in their knee.
Hip Adduction: Moving the legs together towards the midline is adduction. Hip adduction strength is an important factor in potential groin-related problems.
The Hip Abd/Add Ratio: Is adductor relative to abductor strength and is an indicator of potential risk of sustaining an adductor strain. Information helps identify who may benefit from a strengthening intervention.
Calf Raises: The heel-rise test is used to assess the strength and endurance of the plantar flexors. ‘Calf muscle strains’ are a common running injury, with greater than 50% of running force propulsion generated from ‘below the knee’ plantar flexor musculature.
Nordic Hamstring curl: Is to determine the strength of the Hamstring complex. Good hamstring strength decreases the likelihood of a hamstring injury. A simple way to assess strength is how far you can control the lowering of your body in this test position!
FUNCTIONAL TESTS: Functional movements are based on relatively fast and forceful muscle contraction with limited time for force production/execution. Tests of neuromuscular function are based on muscle activation patterns that closely correspond to a number of sports-related performance movements.
Single Leg Squat: Illustrates control of the ankle, knee, hip, and trunk on a single leg. This offers insight into dynamic control in single leg tasks like running, and take-off and landing movement strategies.
LESS Score: The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) is a tool used to assess the jump-landing biomechanics. It is used to identify the risk of non-contact injuries during jumping and landing movements.
Single Leg Jump: Hop tests can be used for return to sport decision-making. It is not just about the distance hopped, but also about the quality of the movement of the ankle, knee, hip joints and trunk.
Triple cross-over hop: Assesses single-leg hop endurance and side to side control.
SEBT: The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is a dynamic test that requires strength, flexibility, and proprioception. It is a measure of dynamic balance that provides a significant challenge to athletes. The goal of the SEBT is to maintain a single leg stance on one leg while reaching as far as possible with the opposite leg. It has demonstrated reliable results on its ability to predict lower extremity injury, particularly when the forward reach difference is more than 4cm.
- Forward reach difference: Left versus right difference. More than 4cm starts to increase lower limb injury risk (for either leg, not necessarily the ‘weaker’ one).
- Left or Right Ratio: This score is calculated as the average of all distances on one leg (forward and both reverse movements), divided by the length. A ratio that is greater than 0.05 (or 5%) indicates deficiencies in movement.
- Symmetry left to right: This is the simple left versus right symmetry taken from the above ratio calculation. Symmetry scores within 5% are generally considered ideal.