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Utility of preinduction tests as predictors of attrition in infantry recruits: a prospective study


Introduction Infantry recruit attrition wastes resources and can affect combat readiness. The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of preinduction tests as a predictor of attrition among conscripts in the first year of infantry training.

Methods 303 infantry conscripted recruits participated in a prospective study. Before their service, recruits received health profile and Quality Group Scores (QGSs). Recruits were screened at induction using questionnaires, by functional movement screening (FMS) and by upper and lower quarter Y-balance, dynamic and anthropometric tests. They were followed for musculoskeletal injuries and attrition during the first year of training.

Results 165/303 (54.5%) recruits were diagnosed with musculoskeletal injury or pain during the first year of their training. 15.2% did not complete their first year of service as combatants and 5.9% were discharged. On multivariable binary stepwise logistic regression analysis for attrition, protective factors were higher QGSs (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.89) and recruits diagnosed with musculoskeletal injuries or pain (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.48). Pain in the balance test performed at the beginning of training was a risk factor (OR 3.31, 95% CI 1.44 to 7.61). These factors explained only 15.4% of the variance in attrition.

Conclusions FMS was not a significant predictor of infantry attrition. Measuring the three variables found to be associated with infantry attrition would seem to be valuable when the number of infantry candidates greatly exceeds the number of infantry positions. Transferring infantry attriters to non-combatant roles and not discharging them is a way to manage the problem of attrition.

  • epidemiology
  • adult orthopaedics
  • orthopaedic sports trauma
  • sports medicine

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data can be obtained upon reasonable request by contacting the corresponding author.

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