Young professional sport
The PREHAB SCREEN® in action - Interview

Uschi Kerschbaumer is a physiotherapist, Johann Szabo a sports scientist. We meet them both for an interview. The Austrians have completed our Prehab Onlineseminar and have integrated the PREHAB SCREEN® directly into their daily work schedules as part of a junior performance sports model. In the interview, they describe their experiences and how they use the PREHAB SCREEN®.

OSINSTITUT: Uschi, Johann, good evening! You both work with young athletes in Austria. In what kind of institution and with which athletes do you work there?

Johann Szabo: In Austria, there are junior high-performance sports models recognised by the Ministry of Sport in every province that combine school education and competitive sports training - similar to the elite sports schools in Germany. The aim of these models is to promote talented young athletes who are to prove themselves successfully in the course of time both in Austrian and international sport, without neglecting their school education. Here in Burgenland, the school "Bgld. Schule und Sport Modell Oberschützen (bssm)" fulfils this task. The bssm cooperates with the BORG for competitive athletes in Oberschützen. The special feature of this type of school is that the schooling lasts five years instead of four, which means that the young athletes aged 14 to 19 can also train in the morning. The bssm currently supports a total of 86 athletes from 17 sports. We support and supplement the work of young athletes in the sports associations and their clubs. The centrepiece of our coaching services is the athletics training in the morning. But the bssm also takes on important tasks in the area of training environment, such as sports medicine and sports psychology support, nutrition counselling, sports motor testing, etc.

OSINSTITUT: How did you hear about the PREHAB SCREEN®?

Uschi Kerschbaumer: As a physiotherapist, I was given a new assignment to look after athletes in a junior sports school model. My job is to recognise where the athletes' individual deficits can be found, to work on them and thus to get the best out of them. That's why I screen our junior athletes first. In the past, we did an orthopaedic check with each athlete once a year. I started looking for alternatives or supplements that would help to create differentiated and individual athlete profiles. In the process, I found out about you via Phydelio, the further education programme of Physio Austria. In addition, a former graduate recommended the OSCOACH training to me. Finally, I told Johann, the head of the competitive sports facility, about my plans and together we decided to complete the Module Prehab.

OSINSTITUT: You then got to know the PREHAB SCREEN®. What do you think distinguishes it?

Uschi Kerschbaumer: I really like the fact that the Prehab Screen® consists of many functional tests that have to be carried out in the form of a movement task. Through the various tests and exercises, I get an all-encompassing, quick and individual assessment of each athlete. It has also become clear to me that the deficits are often not due to one or more joints or structures, but can also be functional deficits. The Prehab Screen® shows this very well.

Johann Szabo: Another advantage is that we can divide the athletes into small training groups based on the test results so that we can then work on the deficits or potentials in a very targeted way. This is done - guided by our trainers - in the morning training, because we notice again and again that the young athletes need guidance and advice, especially during learning and initial practice. As soon as the quality of movement in the exercises is right, the athletes train individually and on their own responsibility at home in order to work on the existing movement deficits. We started with this concept in spring 2020. Many athletes were not aware of their potential and deficits until now. But through the tests, they were able to see for themselves what they still need to work on - and that also motivates them. We want to do another screen at the end of this school year at the latest to see if the athletes have been able to work on their deficits. We both have the feeling that our athletes see the Prehab Screen® as a tool that "takes them further" and that they feel very well looked after. The fact that the Prehab Screen® is carried out at top clubs in elite sport naturally motivates our athletes.

Seminar notice

The Module Prehab contains all contents around the PREHAB SCREEN. 

Module Prehab // 26th - 28th May 2022

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OSINSTITUT: Do the results of the screen help you in your communication internally and also with the associations? 

Johann Szabo: Yes, definitely. In our special school branch, the athletes have athletics training three times a week in the morning. We always discuss the contents with the special coaches, and strength training is a very important point. Initially, this is very multifaceted. Strength training with free weights, including the barbell, plays an important role. It is very important that the basic movement patterns fit and that the exercises are performed correctly. The physiotherapists pass on the results of the screen to us as trainers, and this gives us clues as to where we need to start. We know where the athletes have potential and where there are deficits and can use this data to decide, for example, whether an athlete can already start with the back squat or whether ankle mobility exercises are still needed. We then pass on these results and data to the coaches in the clubs. The Prehab Screen® is a new quality for us in our work with athletes because it is fact-based. This simplifies and strengthens the communication internally as well as externally with the federations.

OSINSTITUT: We are very happy to hear that! Were there also situations with challenges during the implementation of the Prehab Screen®?

Uschi Kerschbaumer: In my opinion, the biggest challenge was to instruct the athletes on how to move in such a way that the test was carried out as desired. Here I could sometimes see a slight insecurity in the students and I was also tempted to "hands on". The inexperience of motor control in certain initial situations certainly also played a role here.

Furthermore, we didn't do the last two tests, the push pull-ups and the squat jumps, because we had already noticed various deficits, for example that the scapula-humeral rhythm didn't fit or the fixators were too weak, and we didn't want to work on them with an additional stimulus and an impact. In this case, the students were too young because they had not done these exercises before in training.

OSINSTITUT: You both got to know the Prehab Screen® in Onlineseminar. Would you recommend our online seminars to other colleagues?

Johann Szabo: It was my first online seminar I had taken part in. That's why I didn't have any expectations, but was curious to see how it would work. After the seminar I was very positively surprised, on the one hand by the lecturers and on the other hand by the way the seminar was conducted. I liked the combination of theory and practice very much and the discussions between the participants and the lecturers also worked well. My expectations were more than exceeded and I am thrilled.

Uschi Kerschbaumer: I had a very similar experience. In some situations I even had the feeling that I was more concentrated in the online format. The group work also worked very well online and I really liked the fact that we were always thrown together with other course participants. In addition, the seminar was very well organised in advance, so that we received precise information about the materials we needed to conduct the seminar. To be honest, I was a little sceptical at first and was unsure whether I should take the course again in person to make sure everything was right. But: even as an online format, no topic was missed out and all my questions were answered.

OSINSTITUT: Thank you very much for your time, Uschi and Johann! We are very happy to hear that the Prehab Screen® has been successfully implemented in the Burgenland junior competitive sports model!

The interview was made by Nils Borgstedt and Sophia Schmalzgruber.

Pictures: (c)Uschi Kerschbaumer; (c)Johann Szabo; Graphic: Image by clker-free-vector-images on; Collage: OSINSTITUT