Injury Prevention Screens for Youth Athletes

14 October 2020Lifestyle, Preventative Care

Injury prevention screens for youth athletes in Kansas City are becoming more and more popular, and necessary, as youth sports in Kansas City continue to grow. Injury prevention screens are an important tool for every youth athlete that can be used to assess for strength deficits, mobility restrictions, and motor control and coordination issues. 


Why is an injury prevention screen necessary for your youth athlete?

If we understand an athlete’s deficits, we can change the trajectory of their performance and reduce their chance for injury, and this knowledge needs to be considered within the context of their sport as well. Injury prevention screens for youth athletes help us know what needs to be addressed not only in treatment but as the athlete trains. By understanding deficits, training can become life-altering. Proper training can bring a reduction in the amount of hamstring and adductor (groin) strains that commonly occur with cutting/change of direction as well as in sports that require sprinting at max effort, and even more so if there is a functional deficit. We know that we can significantly reduce the amount of non-contact ACL injuries in soccer and other cutting sports through proper evaluation and stability training based on each athlete’s needs. We know that with proper training we can reduce the amount of lumbar (lower back) stress fractures that occur in gymnasts and others involved in jumping/landing sports especially if they are compensating in these landings. 

Knowing what the body is doing and how it is all working together to move can help reduce a plethora of injuries, but we also know that not every injury can be prevented even with the most extensive screen. Sports are chaotic in nature, and we can’t fully predict every move that is about to happen. Unfortunately there are times that even if you are in the best shape of your life, the scenario of “wrong place at the wrong time” can still happen and you can still undergo an injury. But by participating in an injury prevention screen and performance program, the deficits can be taken out of the equation, allowing your athlete to better “bullet proof” their bodies to be able to handle the stresses that sports place on an athlete.  

How do you know which injury prevention screen in Kansas City is right for your athlete?

Through the last few years many screens have been developed to capture deficits, and each screen has shown to have its strengths and weaknesses. As more and more research is done on these tests, the efficacy of each is constantly being weighed. What sets a test apart is how it takes into consideration, not just the standard expectations for strength, mobility and motor control, but how it addresses the individual, their sport or sports, and their position within that sport. This is where the F.I.T. injury prevention screen for youth athletes comes in. 


Why is the F.I.T. injury prevention screen in Kansas City different?

At F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic, we felt there was a lack of individuality and sport specific testing available, so we created something that wasn’t generic for every athlete and could better assess an athlete by incorporating specific testing to try to replicate the demands of their sport (and position) as closely as possible. 

Our doctors took our background experience in high level athletic performance and employed it in the formation of a program that better addressed the needs of diverse sports and athletic experiences. We utilized each other’s experiences to help guide our understanding of the individual stresses the athlete will be exposed to, the common injuries that occur in different sports, and the best way to assess deficits that could help prevent common injuries from happening. Most importantly, we are experts in the exercises that will help reduce your athlete’s risk of sustaining one of those injuries, not just from experience but from the highest level of training that comes with being functional movement specialists. The injury prevention screen is performed by a trained physical therapist or chiropractor, utilizing measurable data in order that we can then address and later reassess appropriately.

Not only do we understand different sports require different attention, but we understand that everyone enters our screen with a different level of skill, coordination, strength, and mobility due to development. Therefore the injury prevention screen at F.I.T. also accounts for the age of an individual, as different age groups have the potential to deal with different injuries. For example, younger athletes will deal with growth plate issues or muscle tightness after a growth spurt which therefore interacts with their coordination and mobility. When addressing the screen, as well as the training post screen, we also take into account numerous other aspects of an athlete’s life: sleep, water intake, practice/game frequency, and training volume to ensure the athlete is properly fueled and not over-training. All of these factors combined together are the reason we created a sport specific injury prevention screen accompanied by an individualized performance program to best suit the needs of the athlete rather than using generic testing and programming. 


What comes after an injury prevention screen?

After the injury prevention screen is complete, we explain in depth the results of the screen and what those results mean with regards to your particular sport. The results of the screen are also automatically calculated into a F.I.T. score to give you a more precise picture of how each test interacts and provide you with tangibles as to which deficits require the greatest attention.  After the results are discussed, we use this information along with your goals to create an individualized injury prevention and performance program. This program addresses ways to improve overall strength, coordination, and mobility to reduce your risk of injury and at the same time improve your performance. Once the program is completed, we conduct the screen again to measure the improvement and the change in the F.I.T. score. We strive to be as objective and utilize only reproducible tests in order that we can be as accurate as possible with reassessment to truly measure the change that occurs. Our goal is to maximize your body’s potential and make you better than before.  


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