Introduction The US Marine Corps (USMC) Officer Candidates School (OCS) is a 10-week training course for Marine Officer Candidates (MOCs). OCS training is rigorous and demanding, which results in a high risk of musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). The objective of this analysis was to describe MSIs among women and men during the USMC OCS at Quantico, Virginia, from September 2020 to November 2021.
Methods This prospective cohort study assessed MSIs that occurred among 736 MOCs (women: 17.8% of sample, men: 82.2%). Data for the study were derived from routinely collected injury data by athletic trainers and physical therapists embedded within the training units. Injury incidence, event at the time of injury occurrence, anatomic location, injury type and disposition following injury were described. Fisher’s exact tests were used to compare proportions of injured women and men.
Results The cumulative injury incidence was higher among women (39.7%) compared with men (23.1%, p<0.001). When specific events associated with injuries were reported, most frequent events were the obstacle course (women: 20.9% of injuries, men: 12.9%) and the conditioning hike (women: 11.6%, men: 6.9%). Most injures affected the lower body (women: 67.4%, men: 70.8%). The most frequent body part injured was the lower leg (18.6%) in women and the knee (23.3%) in men. The most frequent injury type was strain (women: 39.5%, men: 24.3%), followed by sprain (women: 16.3%, men: 14.9%). A greater percentage of female (92.3%) compared with male MOCs (69.3%; p<0.001) were assigned light duty status following MSIs.
Conclusions Mitigation of injuries during OCS events such as the obstacle course and the conditioning hike needs further investigation. The high risk of overuse lower leg injuries among women and the higher incidence of injuries among women compared with men underscore the need for further investigation of modifiable sex-specific injury risk factors.
- public health
- sports medicine
Data availability statement
No data are available. Due to the sensitive nature of the data, raw data are not available for public access.
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Contributors BN, BJM, QM, KJK, ML and MBB made substantial contributions to conception and design of the study. ES, JF JLVC, AFB, IB and MBB worked on acquisition of data. ML conducted data analysis. ML and MBB worked on interpretation of data. ML, MBB, KJK, ES and JF contributed to drafting the article. JLVC, AFB, IB, QM, BJM and BN contributed to revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content. ML, MBB, KJK, ES, JF, JLVC, AFB, IB, QM, BJM and BN provided final approval of the version to be published. ML is responsible for the overall content of the manuscript as guarantor.
Funding This work was funded by ONR N00014-20-C2020.
Disclaimer The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Army/Navy/Air Force, Department of Defense or the US Government.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.