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Musculoskeletal injuries in British Army recruits: a prospective study of incidence in different Infantry Regiments
  1. Jagannath Sharma1,2,3,
  2. J Dixon2,
  3. S Dalal4,
  4. R Heagerty1 and
  5. I Spears5
  1. 1 DPHC - Medical centre, Rehabilitation Department, Infantry Training Centre Catterick Garrison, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, UK
  2. 2 School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, UK
  3. 3 251 Medical Squadron, 3 Medical Regiment, Sunderland, UK
  4. 4 HQ North Region, Defence Primary Healthcare, Sunderland, UK
  5. 5 School of Social Sciences and Law, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jagannath Sharma, PHD, MCSP and RAMC, DPHC - Medical and Rehabilitation Department Infantry Training Centre Catterick Garrison, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire DL9 3PS, UK; jagannath.sharma706{at}


Background Musculoskeletal injuries and attrition incurred during basic military training are a significant socioeconomic burden across many Defence Forces. In order to plan an injury prevention strategy, the purpose of this study was to quantify the regiment-specific musculoskeletal injury patterns and training outcomes.

Methods This was a prospective observational study of the Parachute (n=734), Guards (n=1044), Line (n=3472) and Gurkha (n=458) Regiments of the British Army recruits during a 26-week basic military training programme over a 2-year period. The participant demographic characteristics were: age 18.9 years (SD±2.3), height 176.5 cm (SD±7.80), mass 69 kg (SD±9.7) and body mass index 22.14 kg/m2 (SD±2.5).

Results The incidence of injuries (86%, 46%, 48% and 10%) was significantly different (p<0.001) as were the first time pass out rates (p=0.02) of 38%, 51%, 56% and 98% for Parachute, Guards, Line and Gurkha, respectively. Overuse injuries were more frequently reported than both acute and recurrent injuries in all regiments (X2=688.01, p<0.01).

Conclusions The disparity in injury incidence and training outcome between Infantry Regiments suggests that the demands of training be taken into account when devising injury prevention strategies.

  • recruit training
  • musculoskeletal injury
  • overuse injury
  • training outcome

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  • Contributors JS conceived the study, participated in its design, and collected and analysed the data. JS, JD, SD, RH and IS drafted the manuscript, interpreted the data and critically revised the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the Teesside University School of Social Sciences and Law Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.