The lower extremity functional test (LEFT) and lower quadrant injury in Division III Athletes: A descriptive and epidemiologic report
Heiderscheit, Bryan C.
Manske, Robert C.
Niemuth, Paul E.
Rauh, Mitchell J.
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Brumitt, J., Heiderscheit, B.C., Manske, R.C., Niemuth, P.E., Mattocks, A., & Rauh, M.J. (2015). The lower extremity functional test (LEFT) and lower quadrant injury in Division III Athletes: A descriptive and epidemiologic report.
The lower extremity functional test (LEFT) has been used to assess readiness to return to sport after a lower extremity (LE) injury. Current recommendations suggest that females should complete the LEFT in 135 s (average) (range 120 s - 150 s) and males should complete the test in 100 s (average) (range 90 s to 125 s). However, these estimates are based on limited data and may not be reflective of collegiate athletes. Thus additional assessment, including normative data, of the LEFT in sport populations is warranted. The purpose of this study was to examine LEFT times based on descriptive information and off-season training habits in Division III (D III) athletes. In addition, this study prospectively examined the LEFT's ability to discriminate sport-related injury occurrence. Descriptive epidemiology. Division III university. One-hundred and eighty-nine D III collegiate athletes (106 females, 83 males) from 15 teams participated. LEFT times, preseason questionnaire, and time-loss injuries during the sport season. Males completed the LEFT (105 s ± 9) significantly faster than their female counterparts (117 s ± 10) (p < 0.0001). Female athletes who reported >3-5 hr/wk of plyometric training during the off-season had significantly slower LEFT scores than females who performed ≤ 3 hrs/wk of plyometric training (p = 0.03). The overall incidence of a lower quadrant (LQ) time-loss injury for female athletes was 4.5/1000 athletic exposures (AEs) and 3.7/1000 AEs for male athletes. Female athletes with a slower LEFT score (≥ 118 s) experienced a higher rate of LQ time-loss injuries than females with a faster LEFT score (≤ 117 s) (p = 0.03). Only off-season plyometric training practices seem to affect LEFT score times among female athletes. Females with slower LEFT scores are more likely to be injured than females with faster LEFT scores. Injury rates in males were not influenced by performance on the LEFT.
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