The Relationship Between Functional Movement Screen Scores and Injuries in College-aged Water Polo Players

Open Access
Cabarcas, Brandon Charles
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sayers John Miller III, Thesis Supervisor
  • Steriani Elavsky, Honors Advisor
  • Giampietro Luciano Vairo, Faculty Reader
  • Functional Movement
  • Functional Movement Screen
  • Score
  • Injury
  • Injury Risk
  • Water Polo
  • College
  • Players
Background: The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a series of functional movement tests designed to assess an individual’s risk for injury within their certain sport, occupation, or lifestyle. To date, research has focused on FMS scores in land-based populations. No known FMS data has been published for aquatic athletes. Objectives: To determine the relation between Functional Movement Screen scores and injury risk in college-aged water polo athletes as well as demographic and anthropometric measures. Methods: Thirty-three members (14 male, 19 female) of a collegiate club water polo team (age = 20.636 ± 1.17 years, height = 1.765 ± 0.092 m, mass = 73.618 ± 10.095 kg, BMI = 23.523 ± 2.159 kg/m2) participated in the study. Participants underwent an FMS assessment and were asked to record their past injury history before the current water polo season. As the season progressed, injuries that caused them to miss practice or game time were recorded. Group means and standard deviations were calculated for all measures. Fisher’s Exact Test was used to determine the association between FMS scores and injury incidence. Two-tailed, two-sample t-tests were calculated to determine statistically significant differences between male and female water polo players for FMS scores, as well as demographic and anthropometric measures. Linear regression analysis was utilized to examine the association between age and BMI and FMS score. P ≤ 0.05 denoted statistical significance a priori. Results: No significant relations were found between FMS score and injury incidence (P = 0.053). Significant differences were found between male and female height (P < 0.001) and mass (P < 0.001). Age was found to be negatively correlated with FMS scores (P = 0.025). No significant difference was found between overall male and female FMS performance (P = 0.811). Statistically significant differences were found between male and female performance on the deep squat (P < 0.001, shoulder mobility (P = 0.009), active straight leg raise (P = 0.001), and trunk stability pushup tests (P = 0.001). No significant difference was observed between the number of male and female asymmetries on the bilateral FMS movement tests (P = 0.589). Conclusions: FMS scores were not shown to have any significant relation with injury risk. The FMS was not a good predictor of injury incidence within this population. Males and females had similar FMS total scores and the same number of asymmetries on the bilateral tests. For the component tests of the FMS, males performed better than females on the trunk stability pushup and deep squat tests while females performed better than males on the shoulder mobility and active straight leg raise tests. Age, but not BMI, was found to be a significant predictor of FMS performance with older participants expected to score lower on the FMS.