Lyric Feingold knew Monday's trip to East Middle School was going to be a little different.
The incoming senior at Winters Mill High School said she got medical clearance Friday to return to the soccer field, where 15 months ago she suffered a severe right knee injury. Feingold wanted to show up for some light soccer activities, but she also took part in a functional motion screening program held by Pivot Physical Therapy.
Pivot, formerly known as Maryland SportsCare & Rehab, brought three staff members to East Middle and ran the soccer players through a series of tests. The goal is to assess an individual's ability to move efficiently without any limitation, said clinic director David Benzing. Seven fundamental movements are scored, Benzing, on a 0-3 scale. A zero means failure to execute the move, while a 3 is perfection (21 is a perfect score).
Athletes should be striving to score 14 or higher, Benzing said.
The girls, almost all of whom were WM girls soccer players, lined up a few minutes before the open field practice began and performed the series of moves — standing, kneeling, lying face down on the ground, they tested their flexibility and core muscle strength. Feingold removed her knee brace and bandages, revealing several scars, before getting in line for the test.
"I have a bad feeling about some of these," she said while Pivot's Maria Caccamise had her doing modified push-ups and arm and leg stretches.
That Feingold did any of the movements with success was progress in her eyes.
She suffered her injury in May of 2013 playing club soccer when she collided with the opposing team's goalkeeper going for a loose ball. Feingold didn't break any bones, but said she tore just about every ligament possible in her knee. At one point following the injury, Feingold said, there was talk of her possibly losing part of her leg. That didn't happen, and after multiple surgeries and months of rehabilitation she's nearing her return.
"I go to the gym every day, and just knowing what I need to do for here, like squats and things like that, I need to know how to do those things," Feingold said. "If I don't, I could get injured on the field again. ... I figured I'd show up and see what could happen."
The goal, Benzing said, is to allow an athlete to achieve peak performance but also recognize the potential for an injury and take precaution through different exercises and conditioning. The FMS was created in 1998, said Pivot's Jenna Rourke, and has gained respect and interest in recent years with college and pro sports following its formula. Caccamise said hockey players entering the NHL draft can't get clearance without going through FMS. Same with football players wanting to attend the NFL combine.
Pivot's website lists Maryland and Texas A&M as colleges that use FMS; the NFL's Ravens and Seahawks are listed, as are the NHL's Washington Capitals.
"It's the real deal," Rourke said.
Benzing answered a few questions asked by some parents before they watched their daughters go through the tests. He used an NFL example to explain the point system — former Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark, who played for the Ravens last year, scored a 21, while former running back Edgerrin James, a four-time Pro Bowl pick, scored a 7.
The Winters Mill girls took the testing as seriously as they could with the first day of fall sports practice coming next week. Feingold said she hopes her hard work pays off by way of a healthy senior season.
"It's awesome," she said. "I've been working my butt off for about a year now. Just knowing that I'm cleared and able to play is definitely mind-blowing for me."