Article #47 of 50: I have made it a goal of mine to share at least 50 research articles with you to review in 2012. These articles will be shared with no opinion of mine, just purely the information provided in the research and where to go to read more about the topic. This weekly challenge will feature many different aspects of the field: strength, conditioning, nutrition, psychology, etc. If you would like to submit research articles to be included in this segment, please email me a PDF version of the peer reviewed journal article.

MILITARY MEDICINE, 177, 5;553, 2012.

Abstract: Low physical fitness levels are associated with increased musculoskeletal injury risk and attrition among military recruits. The authors review physical fitness trends, injury risk factors, and Department of the Army initiatives to address recruit fitness, injuries, and attrition. Initiatives include the Fitness Assessment Program, which reduced injury risk and attrition among low-fit trainees, and the Assessment of Recruit Motivation and Strength, which enabled the Army to enlist individuals exceeding body composition accession standards without increasing attrition. Physical Readiness Training (PRT) is the Army’s primary initiative to address training-related injuries and attrition. PRT’s inherent injury control and exercise progression components are designed to address low fitness levels across entry-level training. PRT has been shown to decrease injury rates, but low-fit recruits remain at increased risk regardless of program design. The authors recommend resuming pre-enlistment fitness screening and fitness programming before low-fit recruits begin entry-level training. The decision whether to screen for fitness before beginning entry-level training could be based upon the existing recruiting environment in terms of applicant supply and the demand for recruits. However, the Army should anticipate increased injury and attrition rates when discontinuing screening and/or fitness programming for low-fit recruits.

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