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Musculoskeletal injuries in British Army recruits: a prospective study of incidence in different Infantry Regiments


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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