» Are Your Athletes Really Ready to Return to Play?

Published on 5/24/2016 by Lee Burton in FMS Screening


The decision on when to return to play is highly influential toward future injury risk.  In this presentation from the first annual International Sports Physical Therapy Congress, Dr. Mike Voight discusses how a Functional Movement Screen is a necessary step in safely returning athletes to the field at their highest level of function. 

Here's an outline of the presentation, including some of our favorite quotes from Dr. Voight:

  • The problem with a traditional approach to rehabilitation (0:50)
  • The best predictor of future injury (2:21)
  • Studies on injury risk (3:13)
  • Motor control: the root of the problem (6:10)
  • Role of the FMS screen in rehabilitation (7:19)
  • Y Balance test example (10:15)
  • Multifactorial nature of injury risk (11:21)
  • Using software to concentrate multiple test results (11:44)


  • Traditional rehabilitation vs. restoring function: “Largely, from a traditional viewpoint, return to play guidelines are based upon pain, range of motion and strength. And one of the things I’ve learned throughout my career is, while we are really good at this as physiotherapists, that doesn’t mean that our athletes are going back to the highest level of function.” (1:20)
  • “The number one predictor of injury is previous injury.” (2:26)
  • Research on injury prediction: “They found that there is almost a 900% likelihood those that had had ACL injury in high school were going to have surgery again in their four years of college.” (4:54)
  • Why re-injury is a problem for physical therapists: “We own this problem. Because either we are not fully rehabilitating our patients when they come to us, or something else fundamentally or structurally changes after injury.” (5:33)
  • Motor control as the root issue: “We move differently after injury. We move differently in pain. These are the things that need to be addressed.” (6:25)
  • Purpose of the FMS screen: “It’s a screen to separate rocks from dirt. Everything that is a 0 or a 1 that’s a problem. 0 is pain, 1 was significantly dysfunctional. Everything else will fall through the cracks. We are not saying they’re perfect, there is still potential for impairment there. It’s just that these are not the big ticket items we are looking for.” (9:34)
  • Using multiple tests in evaluation: “In isolation, they’re good, but it’s not an exact science. When we combine them, or use a battery of tests, our diagnostic and predictive yield goes way up.” (11:30)
  • Testing expediency: “We can come up with all kinds of tests that are great ideas, but if they take hours and hours and hours to do, they’re probably not practical for us in a clinical setting to make decisions on when to return to play.” (13:27)

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2/19/2017 4:29:46 PM