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Application of the Taxonomy of Injuries: Analysis of Army Recruit Injuries, CY 2016


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U.S. Army basic training, known as initial entry training (IET), ensures the physical and mental preparation of recruits prior their enlistment. Recruits have long been recognized as a military population at high-risk of injury because of the physical intensity and repetition of IET activities. Of primary concern are musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries, especially cumulative microtraumatic (overuse) injuries. The volume of medical visits and lost training time from injuries substantially hinders Army training, force strength, and combat readiness. Some overuse injuries (i.e., stress fractures) can even result in medical discharge (in these cases, recruits never become Soldiers, and are no longer available for future military service). This investigation confirmed that over 80% of recruit injuries are to the lower body. Most are to the lower extremities (i.e., knee, ankle, foot, lower leg). Others include lower back injuries and pelvic/hip stress fractures. These injuries are attributed to the substantial on-foot activities required of IET recruits (running, patrolling, and foot marching). Higher-than-expected rates of lower body injuries can indicate excessive distances and/or frequencies of a specific activity and/or of the combined on-foot activities. Though less common, this investigation also found a notable number of shoulder injuries (5 ), indicating injuries caused by different activities (possibly weight-training or donning/doffing rucksacks). Results also confirm disparate impacts to men and women for specific injuries (e.g., female pelvic stress fractures). To help reduce injuries that have the largest impact to recruits, routine installation/unit training-related injury reports are available to Army leaders to monitor injury trends.



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