Injury and illness incidence in a Sergeants Major Academy class

Mil Med. 2013 Jul;178(7):735-41. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-12-00494.


Purpose: This study examined the incidence and risk factors for training injuries and illnesses for 149 male and 6 female U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy students.

Methods: This was a retrospective report based on injuries and illnesses that occurred during 9.5 months of physical fitness training including running, marching, and calisthenics. During this time, 49.7% (74/149) students were injured at least once. The crude incidence rate was 5.2 injuries (68.9%), and accounted for 1749 limited duty days (LDD). The most common overuse injuries were pain, muscle strain, and tendinitis/bursitis involving primarily the lower extremities and lower back. For illnesses, 63.1% (94/149) of the students had one or more illness visits to a medical facility. The crude incidence rate was 6.6 illnesses per 100 soldiers per month. Infectious illnesses were the most frequent illness reported (48.3%), and 94 students had a total of 311 days of illness-associated LDD.

Conclusions: Medical record reviews revealed that musculoskeletal injuries were the major cause of LDD during physical fitness training. Overuse lower extremity and lower back injuries were the most commonly reported injuries. Respiratory bacterial and viral infectious illnesses were the most commonly reported illnesses. Alcohol consumption was a risk factor for developing infectious illnesses. Cigarette smoking was associated with slower 2-mile run times when compared with history of nonsmoking.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bursitis / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infections / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Tendinopathy / epidemiology
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*