Pre-season screening and injury prevention

The beginning of winter sports seasons are finally upon us and training regimes are starting to kick into overdrive. Conditioning is an essential part of a successful season but how can we truly know that our bodies are ready to withstand the rigours of sports participation? A comprehensive pre- season screen will encompass both a medical and physical screening component.

A medical screening may be more appropriate for an athlete who is at higher risk of complications from exercise. This may include the older athlete, the casual athlete who is returning to higher levels of activity than accustomed to, and those with diagnosed with respiratory, metabolic or cardiac diseases, i.e. asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases.

A physical screening can very much be applied to all participants in sport and can aid an athlete in addressing musculoskeletal deficits which will increase risk of injury. A physical screening procedure will entail:

  • A detailed history including past injury history, changes in body type over time (particularly adolescent athletes), type of sports participated in, level of sport, amount and duration of sport, off- season training load and type
  • Assessment of posture, gait assessment, joint range of motion and muscle length, muscle strength and the athletes ability in performing functional sport- specific tasks
  • Identification of areas of weakness and the subsequent implementation of specific graded exercise plans to optimise strength
  • Documentation of baseline measures to ensure follow up and monitoring of physical changes

Studies have indicated that muscles that are short and joint that are inflexible increase load and stress on muscle, bones, tendons and ligaments which can result in injury and trauma. A pre- season screening is therefore a great way to identify these issues before they occur and injury results in financial implications and time off sport.

To have one of physiotherapists assess your readiness for action call 4626 6116 now.