The burden and management of sports-related musculoskeletal injuries and conditions within the US military

Clin Sports Med. 2014 Oct;33(4):573-89. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2014.06.004.


Military service members comprise a young and physically active population who are at increased risk for musculoskeletal injuries and conditions related to sports and physical training. Even during times of war, musculoskeletal injuries and conditions related to sports and physical training, not associated with combat, are the leading cause of medical evacuation from theater. As a result, these injuries significantly compromise military readiness, and they can lead to an increased risk for reinjury and long-term disability among military service members. Regardless of the mechanism of injury, the large volume and types of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions that affect soldiers are similar to those that are commonly seen and treated in sports medicine clinics and practices. Recently, the US Marine Corps, Navy, and Army have recognized the value of the sports medicine model of care to improve the access, efficiency, and effectiveness of care for solders who experience musculoskeletal injuries related to sports and training. A highly skilled sports medicine team of providers and allied health care professionals (eg, athletic trainers, physical therapists), with expertise in the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and management of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, will continue to be an integral cog in the effective management of these types of injuries into the future, as the sports medicine model continues to expand across the military health system.

Keywords: Injuries; Military; Musculoskeletal conditions; Physical training; Sports medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Bone and Bones / injuries*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Joint Diseases / epidemiology
  • Lower Extremity / injuries
  • Military Personnel*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Upper Extremity / injuries