Functional movement screening: predicting injuries in officer candidates

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Dec;43(12):2224-30. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318223522d.


Purpose: Functional movement screening (FMS) is a musculoskeletal assessment method that incorporates seven movements and yields an overall score based on movement quality. The objectives of this study were to document the distribution of scores and to determine whether FMS scores could predict injury in a large military cohort.

Methods: A cohort of 874 Marine officer candidates were recruited, consented, completed demographic questionnaires, and had FMS performed during medical in-processing. Candidates were enrolled in either long-cycle (LC: 68 d; n = 427) or short-cycle (SC: 38 d; n = 447) training and followed up for injuries occurring in training.

Results: The mean FMS score (score range = 0-21) among all candidates was 16.6 ± 1.7; approximately 10% of candidates had FMS scores ≤14. A score of ≤14 on the FMS predicted any injury with a sensitivity of 0.45 and a specificity of 0.71 and serious injury with a sensitivity of 0.12 and a specificity of 0.94. Both LC and SC 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.

Conclusions: This was the first large-scale study performed in an active-duty military cohort to examine the utility of FMS during medical in-processing. Further work is warranted to evaluate FMS and the potential for injury prediction and prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Movement
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult