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Etiology of Fall-Related Injuries in the Army: Review of Narrative Incident Reports, January to December 2011

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Technical Report,01 Jan 2011,01 Dec 2011

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Army Public Health Center (Provisional) Aberdeen Proving Ground United States

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Background Though falls are consistently a leading cause of injuries in U.S. civilian and military populations, injury prevention can be hindered without adequate details regarding target populations and activities. Objective This project identified activities and hazards most frequently associated with fall-related injuries among deployed and non-deployed Active Duty Army Soldiers to help determine injury reduction strategies. Methods Narrative data collected from calendar year 2011 Army safety, medical evacuation, and casualty reporting systems was independently reviewed by investigators to ensure incidents met inclusion criteria and to assign a priori determined codes. Calculation provided injury rates and descriptive frequencies for various activities and hazards. Results A total of 988 non-deployed and 254 deployed fall-related injury incidents were identified. Rates were not statistically different 2.20 per 1000 non-deployed person-years and 2.21 per 1000 deployed person-years. Most injuries 75 in both settings were temporarily disabling especially fractures, sprains and sprains. Lower extremities ankle, foot, knee were most frequently injured. Leading non-deployed activities included sports 22 especially snowboarding and basketball, parachuting 20, and walking or marching 19 ice and snow hazards were a leading hazard 43. In deployed settings, occupational tasks 53 , walking or patrolling 24 , and climbing 23 especially in and out of vehicles were highlighted. Conclusions Fall-related injuries have substantial impacts to military readiness. Over 40,000 duty days are lost each year due to fall-related fractures, sprains, and sprains alone. This Army-wide assessment highlights priorities for fall prevention, but improved documentation and local installation and unit level assessments are needed to identify and track these injuries.

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