Monitoring progress during rehabilitation of the athlete is important. This is usually done by comparing test results. Athletes, particularly elite athletes, complete regular tests of their physical fitness. If an athlete is injured, these tests become pre-tests and are compared with tests done during and after rehabilitation known as post-tests (after the injury). These tests are used in monitoring progress. When the tests conducted produce results similar with the pre-tests, then rehabilitation can stop, provided other indicators of readiness to return to play are present. i.e. the athlete is pain free, has good mobility and is psychologically ready to return to play.
Pre- and post-tests are used for monitoring progress in each component of fitness. Tests should not just focus on one component, but all components, especially the components most needed for the sport, and most affected by the injury.
If an athlete has a sprained ankle, agility testing is vital when monitoring progress. The ankle may be able to withstand linear forces through the joint, but once the athlete needs to change direction at speed, different forces are applied through the ankle and on the ligaments. However, if the athlete was a swimmer, agility testing is not as applicable as for a netball player.
When monitoring progress pre- and post- tests (before and after injury is sustained) should be used to help determine if the athlete can return to play.