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Reducing Injury Risk

Welcome to our blog focused on advancing injury prevention for youth athletes. In this article, we’ll delve into the current limitations of pre-participation exams and explore practical solutions. Did you know that a previous injury is the primary predictor of future injuries? We’re advocating for the involvement of physiotherapists in the sports physical process, aiming to evaluate movements and offer personalized strategies to protect athletes and minimize injuries. Join us as we examine these solutions to safeguard our youth athletes.

Current Michigan Requirements: Sports Physicals

For the 2023-24 school year, an MHSAA pre-participation sports physical is mandatory for all students participating in sports.

What is a Sports Physical or Pre-participation Examination

This comprehensive assessment includes thorough review of the athlete’s medical history, covering personal and family health, allergies, medications, and past surgeries. Subsequently, a physical examination assesses cardiovascular health, musculoskeletal conditions, neurological function, and the respiratory system. While crucial for identifying pre-existing health concerns, these exams fall short in preventing common non-contact musculoskeletal injuries.

How Current Practices Fall Short


In the above study, 72% of ACL injuries resulted from non-contact mechanisms. Physicians excel in spotting medical red flags but lack the time and specialized skills to thoroughly assess movement and prevent non-contact injuries. Physiotherapists, as movement experts, possess the skills to identify poor movement control, asymmetries, and weaknesses that may lead to future injuries.

The Solution: Physiotherapists in the Examination Process

The key solution lies in incorporating physiotherapists, the movement experts in healthcare, into the pre-participation examination process.

How We’re Implementing the Solution

Evaluating athletes’ movements in their sport is crucial for ensuring their safety. KinetaCare has developed a 40-minute Injury Risk Profile (IRP) that examines athletes’ injury risk factors.

KinetaCare’s Injury Risk Profile

Comprehensive Movement Assessment

  • Basic Movements (SFMA): A series of ten functional movements designed to assess fundamental movement patterns.
  • Functional Movement Screen (FMS): A standardized test assessing core stability, strength, mobility, and coordination.
  • Dynamic Stability: Evaluating an athlete’s ability to maintain control at their end ranges of movement, symmetry, explosive and impact control.

Addressing biomechanical weaknesses through targeted training exercises and movement retraining can significantly reduce the risk of injuries.

Detailed History

  • Injury Patterns: Understanding an athlete’s injury history aids in preventive measures.
  • Recovery Perception: An athlete’s perception of past injury recovery affects re-injury risk.
  • Hydration: Proper hydration reduces fatigue and injury susceptibility.
  • Sleep: Quality sleep is vital for muscle repair, reducing injury risk.
  • Hypermobility: Athletes with hypermobility require specialized training to protect against sprains and strains.
  • Exercise Load, Nutrition, Warm-ups, Strength Training: Gradual training load, balanced diet, proper warm-ups, and targeted strength programs reduce injury risks.

Detailed Report with Personalized Recommendations

Each athlete receives a comprehensive profile and personalized recommendations for improvement, offering peace of mind to parents and athletes alike.

Ready to Protect Your Athletes?

Understanding and addressing an athlete’s individual Injury Risk Profile is paramount for minimizing the risk of injury and optimizing performance. By implementing tailored interventions, athletes can enhance their overall health and well-being, ensuring a long and successful career in their chosen sport.

Tyler Waterway

Author Tyler Waterway

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