A Refined Prediction Model for Core
and Lower Extremity Sprains and Strains Among Collegiate Football Players

GB, and Colston MA. Journal of Athletic
Training. 2015; E pub ahead of print. April 6, 2015.

Take Home Message: A college
football player was 5.3 times more likely to have an injury during a season if
he was a starter, had poor core endurance, and reported more low back disability.  Assessing for these things during your
preseason screening can help identify at-risk individuals who may benefit from
injury prevention programs.

football players experience a lower extremity injury that results in
significant time lost.  Injury prevention
programs that are designed to address modifiable risk factors that predict
injury in football and targeted to individuals that may be at a higher risk within
the population have the potential to make a significant impact.  The purpose of this study was to refine a
clinical prediction model over the course of 3 seasons in efforts to better
determine at-risk collegiate football individuals.  Preseason evaluations were conducted at the
beginning of 3 separate seasons among 152 NCAA Division I football athletes.
Preseason evaluations consisted of core endurance tests (i.e., wall-sit hold,
trunk-flexion hold, back-extension hold), surveys (i.e.,
Oswestry Disability Index,
International Knee Documentation Committee Subjective Knee Form, sports component of Foot and Ankle Ability Measure), and body mass index. 
Core endurance tests were slightly modified over the course of the 3
preseason evaluations.  Game/practice
exposure information and injury incidence rates were collected throughout the
ensuing season.  An injury was defined as
any acute core or lower extremity sprain/strain that was treated by an athletic
trainer and required limited football participation for at least 1 day.  Over the 17,208 player-exposures 82 athletes
suffered 132 core or lower extremity sprains or strains.  The authors found that a player was 5.3 times
more likely to have an injury in a season if they had 2 of the 3 predictor risk
factors: starter in 1 or more games, Oswestry Disability Index (low back disability)
score ≥ 4, and poor wall-sit hold performance. 
Having 2 or more risk factors resulted in a 56% sensitivity and an 80%

The prediction model in this study
identified 2 modifiable risk factors that are easy to assess and show
relatively good screening capabilities at preseason; particularly if you know
the player will start in at least one game that season.  It may be helpful to determine if these
findings are generalizable to other teams (college/university or high school)
since most teams follow slightly different strength and conditioning training
programs.  It makes sense that injury
rates may be higher among game starters because they may be put at risk more
than nonstarters but we cannot control this as clinicians.  Knowing that these individuals are already at
an increased risk is something that we should be aware of.  Intervention efforts targeted towards
improving or addressing the low back disability that exists at preseason as
well as the poor performance on a wall-sit hold may prove to be instrumental in
our overall prevention efforts.  If you
identify that an athlete has 2 of these 3 risk factors, it may be important to
immediately institute a program to try to intervene.  Preseason screenings are relatively common;
however, they rarely include a core endurance challenge or patient-reported
outcome instruments.  With minimal
resource and time commitment, preseason screenings can become more informative
in the athletic populations if they incorporate patient-reported and functional
assessments. Once a clinician identifies high-risk athletes it may be helpful
to develop a preventive treatment plan.

Questions for Discussion:  Are
there other things that you include in your preseason screenings?  Do you think that prevention programs would
be effective if introduced at preseason?

Nicole Cattano
by: Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:

Wilkerson, G., & Colston, M. (2015). A Refined Prediction Model for Core and Lower Extremity Sprains and Strains Among Collegiate Football Players Journal of Athletic Training DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-50.2.04