Comparison of Injuries between U.S. Army Active Duty Paratroopers and Non Paratrooper Soldiers, Calendar Years 2016 to 2018
Technical Report,01 Jan 2016,31 Dec 2018
U.S. Army Public Health Center Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Area United States
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BACKGROUND A 2019 review of military paratrooper injury studies found a wide range of injury rates 3 to 55 acute injuries per 1,000 jumps that reflected differences in populations, equipment, and environmental conditions. Though considered plausible that military paratroopers have higher injury risk than non-paratroopers, existing studies had reported paratrooper injury rates as injuries1000 jumps so they could not be compared to injury rates of non-paratroopers. In addition, paratrooper studies had focused only on acute ACT injuries, and had not addressed risk of cumulative microtraumatic CMT overuse injuries. OBJECTIVE This investigation compared the types and direct medical costs of all injuries between a population of 31,621 Active Duty AD paratroopers and a group of 170,715 AD non-paratroopers over 3 years CY2016--18. RESULTS Non-paratroopers had 2.93 injuriesSoldier while paratroopers had 3.05 injuriesSoldier during the 3-year study period roughly 1 injury Soldieryear in both populations. Injury odds ratios were greater among paratroopers e.g., ORs of 1.3 - 1.5, though being a woman, African American older age were also shown to be risk factors. Both groups experienced more CMT injuries, but paratroopers had a greater proportion of ACT injuries 25 vs 20 . Body sites most injured were also generally similar leading sites being CMT injuries to the low back, knee, and shoulder. Though the study could not make direct causal associations, ACT head trauma and CMT shoulder injuries may be related to paratroopers exposures. Average mechanical injury costs were 1,000injury for non-paratroopers vs 837injury for paratroopers. ACT injuries cost 2 to 3 times higher than CMT injuries. Per injured soldier, costs were 944non-paratrooper and 822paratrooper, per year.