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Injury incidence and the use of the Movement Competency Screen (MCS) to predict injury risk in full-time dance students at the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD): A prospective cohort study
Lee, Linda Ruth
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Objective To establish the injury incidence and characteristics amongst pre-professional ballet and modern dance students undertaking full-time training, as well as the relationship between dance exposure and injury risk. This study also aimed to establish the relationship between the Movement Competency Screen (MCS) outcomes and injury risk. Introduction Dancers undertaking pre-professional training are of an age considered to be high risk for injury, which can have long-term implications on participation and performance. There is a need for research utilising standardised injury and exposure measures so as to better understand the injury profile of this specific population. The growth of dance medicine has seen an associated rise in pre-participation screening to identify those at risk of injury. Screening an athlete’s functional movement patterns is hypothesised to be an effective strategy, by which athletes at risk of injury may be identified. The MCS is a time effective tool for this purpose, with proven reliability in uninjured subjects. There is currently no literature investigating the utility of the MCS for assessing injury risk within the dance population. Methods Sixty-six pre-professional dance students (40 females, 26 males) attending a full-time pre-professional training school in New Zealand were recruited to take part in a longitudinal cohort study. Prospective injury surveillance was undertaken over a full academic year. Reported injury data was collected via the in-house physiotherapist using the International Performing Arts Injury Reporting System (IPAIRS), and self-reported injury data was collected every three weeks using an on-line questionnaire. Dancers undertook the MCS at the start of the academic year. Results Eighty-six per cent of dancers reported at least one injury over the 2014 academic year. Fifty-nine per cent of all reported injuries were time-loss. The average number of days off dance due to injury was 5.85 (SD 6.37). The injury incidence rate was 2.27 per 1000 hours of dance exposure (DEhr) and 3.35 per 1000 dance exposures (DE). The clinical incidence was 1.92 injuries per dancer. Sixty-eight per cent of injuries were lower limb. There was a significant association between the total number of injuries and total dance exposures (DE) per month (p=0.016). Dancers were more likely to sustain an injury in term one, reducing with each subsequent term (p=0.018). Dancers who had a MCS score < 23 were more likely to be injured than those who scored ≥23 (p=0.035). This was most likely attributed to a greater number of trunk injuries (p=0.036). Lower limb injuries were more likely to result in time-loss (p<0.001), as well as require a greater number of full days off dance (p=0.002). Conclusion The injury prevalence amongst pre-professional modern and ballet dancers in this cohort was high, although injury incidence was comparable to other similar cohorts. There is a strong relationship between dance exposure (DE) and injury risk. There was a positive relationship between the mean MCS outcome score and injury risk. This indicated that dancers who scored lower than the average, and who therefore, had reduced or altered movement competency were more likely to be injured