Young athletes must undergo a sports pre-participation medical exam to determine if they have no health contradictions to participate in sports. However, this exam does not look at how the individual body moves and will react to the demands of the specific sport(s) they will participate in. In addition to the medical fitness exam looking for overall health issues that may prevent participation in a sport, consider a biomechanical exam for all athletes.
Biomechanics is the study of human movements. A structural, or biomechanical, exam is designed to assess human movements and function with the goal of designing a plan to improve performance and decrease the chance of injury. Unfortunately, young athletes are rarely evaluated in this fashion.
During this exam the musculoskeletal system is evaluated in detail to identify imbalances, weaknesses, or mechanical faults before they lead to strains or injury. The exam starts at your foundation (the feet) and works up from there looking at posture, ranges of movement, muscle length tests, muscle tightness, gait, and functional movement tests. This information is then used to make personalized recommendations for corrective exercises designed to decrease the incidence of injury and improve performance.
Unfortunately for me this type of exam and corrective exercises were not yet available when I participated in school sports. Had this type of preventative exam been available, perhaps I would have been able to strengthen weak areas (in my case, knees & ankles) that now give me chronic problems today. While I don’t regret participating in sports, I could certainly do without the aches and pains leftover from basketball and football injuries. By offering athletes a sports biomechanical assessment, I hope to help you prevent future problems as well as improve performance in your sport today.
As always, my goal is for you to move better, feel better, heal better!
Interested in learning more about young athletes and safety/injury? Check out these resources: