Functional Movement Screen

Functional Movement Screen Injury Prediction

Lisman P, O’Connor FG, Deuster PA, Knapik JJ. Functional movement screen and aerobic fitness predict injuries in military training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Apr;45(4):636-43.

“Combining slow RT and low FMS scores (≤14) increased the predictive value across all injury classifications: candidates scoring poorly on both tests were 4.2 times more likely to experience an injury.”

Take Home: Injury risk is multifactorial. Using aerobic fitness combined with fundamental movement competency as measured by the Functional Movement Screen proved to be a powerful predictor of injury in Marine Corps officer candidates. Demonstrates the need for using multiple tests and categorizing the subjects into risk levels  (Lehr et al 2013).

Various Occupations.

Butler RJ, Contreras M, Burton LC, Plisky PJ, Goode A, Kiesel K. Modifiable risk factors predict injuries in firefighters during training academies. Work. 2013

ROC curve analysis established that a FMS cut score of ≤14 was able to discriminate between those at a greater risk for injury. In addition, the deep squat and push up component of the FMS were statistically significant predictors of injury status along with the sit and reach test.”

Take Home: In a different population than previously studied (firefighters rather than athlete or military) the Functional Movement Screen was found predictive of injury. This may demonstrate that fundamental movement patterns are important regardless of activity type.


O’Connor FG, Deuster PA, Davis J, Pappas CG, Knapik JJ. Functional movement screening: predicting injuries in officer candidates. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Dec;43(12):2224-30.

“Both Long Cycle and Short Cycle cohorts demonstrated higher injury risk among candidates who had scores ≤14 compared with those with scores >14 (LC: risk ratio (RR) = 1.65, 95% confidence interval = 1.05-2.59, P = 0.03; SC: RR = 1.91, 95% confidence interval = 1.21-3.01, P < 0.01). Overall, 79.8% of persons with scores ≤14 were in the group with fitness scores <280 (/300), whereas only 6.6% of candidates in the group with fitness scores ≥280 had scores ≤14.”

Take Home: Functional Movement Screen score is associated with injury risk in Marine officer candidates regardless of the length of the basic training session.


Kiesel K, Plisky PJ, Voight ML. Can Serious Injury in Professional Football be Predicted by a Preseason Functional Movement Screen? N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2007 Aug;2(3):147-58.

“The results of this study suggest fundamental movement (as measured by the FMS™) is an identifiable risk factor for injury in professional football players. The findings of this study suggest professional football players with dysfunctional fundamental movement patterns as measured by the FMS(™) are more likely to suffer an injury than those scoring higher on the FMS™.”

Take Home: Performance on a basic test of fundamental movement patterns is helpful in predicting injuries in professional football players.


Chorba RS, Chorba DJ, Bouillon LE, Overmyer CA, Landis  JA. Use of functional movement screening tool to determine injury risk in female collegiate athletes. N Am J Sports  Phys Ther. 2010;5:47-54.

“A score of 14 or less on the FMS™ tool resulted in a 4-fold increase in risk of lower extremity injury in female collegiate athletes participating in fall and winter sports. The screening tool was able to predict injury in female athletes without a history of major musculoskeletal injury such as ACLR.”

Take Home: It is interesting to note that athletes with history ACL reconstruction were included in the study. This may indicate that the Functional Movement Screen may be able to pick up some of the motor control changes that occur after injury that place athletes at increased risk.

Relationship of Functional Movement Screen and Obesity in Children

Duncan MJ, Stanley M, Leddington Wright S. The association between functional movement and overweight and obesity in British primary school children. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2013 15;5(1):11.

This study found that children with obesity have lower Functional Movement Screen scores. The authors concluded that obesity Children playing video gamescauses poor fundamental movement patterns which lead to abnormal biomechanics and could lead to subsequent orthopaedic problems as these kids age.

While I think this is true, I wonder if less coordinated kids are less likely to enjoy movement and exercise.  Would they then gravitate toward more sedentary activities such as video games and TV?  Basically, if exercise doesn’t feel good and I have been embarrassed by the pull ups and run testing I have to do in PE, why would I want to engage in exercise — I can be successful with a video game.

Kids with decreased motor proficiency tend to become obese adults. Further, when kids aren’t exposed to motor stimulating environments (think of being in the woods hopping across creeks, climbing trees, and crawling under logs) tend to be less active as adults. The lack of motor coordination may be at the root cause of childhood obesity. Our current society (less active, more electronics, less PE in schools) then fuels that downward spiral.

I would agree with Avery Faigenbaum PhD that if we can identify these kids who have poor motor coordination and intervene early, we can set them up for a lifestyle of activity.

What do you think?


Duncan MJ, Stanley M, Leddington Wright S. The association between functional movement and overweight and obesity in British primary school children. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2013 15;5(1):11.



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Phil Plisky

I want to change peoples lives through dialogue about creating an ideal career, injury prevention research, and return to activity testing.

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