Preseason exams important to prevent future injuries
The first couple of days of preseason were long, for both the players and team medical and fitness staffs.
Before the players hit the field for the first time in preseason, they were put through six exams to test their readiness. The general medical portion consisted of an orthopedic exam, a cardiac exam, and the ImPACT Test for concussions. The initial fitness tests included the Omega Wave analysis and the Functional Movement Screening, which is comprised of seven segment.
While most of the exams are conducted in private, the Functional Movement Screening was performed in the team's weight room and training room. Each player was observed and scored a number from 1-3 for each exercise.
"If you score 15 of below, you have a higher risk of injury," explained the team's fitness and assistant coach, Paul Caffrey. "What this helps us do is identify those areas...in the athletes body, whereby we can start to address those issues, and as a result prevent an injury that might happen."
The steps ranged from leg and back observations, to shoulder and arm movements, to a variety of balance drills - all completed with both the left and right side of the body.
"You want to make sure that you do everything asymetrically," he said. "You can use that information as a predictor of a future injury, and you can design strenghth training programs with corrective exercises to correct those imbalances so you're even on the left and right side and these's less of a risk of injury."
With the test completed, Caffrey and the staff can now make decisions on if any player needs individual attention before taking part in full training.
"I'll analyze the scores that they got and then I'll prioritize the corrective exercises that they need to do before I have them do other things in the weight room," Caffrey said. "So it's important to have this information, because there are some exercises, based on their scores, that I wouldn't let some of the players do until they fix those issues. And those issues can pretty quickly. But it's very important that we identify them."