An analysis of FMS scores in an inter county Gaelic football team


Fintan Whelan1, Bernie McGowan2, Bryan Whelan2, Carmel Silke2


Dept of Life Sciences, Sligo IT The North Western Rheumatology Unit, Our Lady’s Hospital, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim


The functional movement screening (FMS) instrument developed by Cook et al [1] serves as a useful means of screening and evaluating functional movement of an athlete.


The FMS procedure consists of seven tests each designed to place the participant in extreme positions where weaknesses and imbalances become apparent if appropriate stability and mobility is not utilised.


The identification of poor motor control and right to left asymmetries allows the identification of potential injury and provides the athlete with information on how to increase mobility or stability in the required areas [1] An FMS score of < 14 increases an athlete’s risk of injury eleven fold during the playing season [2-5]. All players on a senior Gaelic inter county panel were invited to attend for FMS tests, at the beginning of the season. Players were excluded from the tests if they had a current injury.


In total 23 of the inter county Gaelic footballers were included in the study, mean age 25.21 (±SD 3.27), mean FMS score 14.96 (±SD 1.46). In total 7 (30%) of the panel had an FMS score of >14. Defenders had the highest mean FMS score of 15.5(± 0.83), and midfielders had the lowest mean FMS score of 14.25(± 0.95), When compared to the FMS score of eight other athletic groups, the mean FMS score of the present study cohort was amongst the lowest identified.


If risk factors for injury occurrence can be identified and addressed utilizing the FMS at the beginning of a playing season in elite gaelic footballers, then decreases in injuries and improved performance should follow.