Can you have an optimal Y Balance Test or Functional Movement Screen score and still have increased risk of injury?
I tested a player in professional sports who had the following Y Balance Test and Functional Movement Screen scores.
If you will notice, his Y Balance Test Lower Quarter scores were great – symmetrical and above the risk cut point for his gender, sport, and competition level. But his Functional Movement Screen was contained fundamental movement pattern deficits and asymmetries. This a classic example of why both tests are necessary for a more complete profile of the athlete’s motor control of body weight.
In an analysis of 1490 athletes/active individuals (Teyhen 2020), we found 677 (45%) passed the Y Balance Test Lower Quarter and of those 677 that passed, 243 (35%) failed the FMS. So, if you only use the Y Balance Test Lower Quarter, you will miss about 16% of the athletes who are at risk of injury.
However, consider another athlete on the same team:
As you can see with this player, his FMS score was good (no zero’s or one’s). While he may possess movement competence as demonstrated by the Functional Movement Screen, he has deficits in his motor control capacity as measured by the Y Balance Test Lower Quarter. But with an anterior reach asymmetry and a composite score below his peers (other professional baseball players), he is at risk of injury. His dynamic left/right imbalance and decreased performance at his limit of stability is a substantial risk factor for injury.
If we go back to the analysis of the 1490 athletes/active individuals, we found that 535 (35%) passed FMS and of those 535 that passed, 253 (47%) failed the Y Balance Test Lower Quarter. If you just use the FMS, you will miss about 17% of the total number of athletes who are at risk injury.
Thus, it is important to use both the Functional Movement Screen and Y Balance Test for a more complete profile of the athlete as well as the most robust injury risk prediction (see Lehr et al 2013 and Teyhen 2020). Or at a minimum, establish basic motor control competency with the Functional Movement Screen first, then move on to the Y Balance Test.
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