Profiles of exercise history and overuse injuries among United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) recruits

Am J Sports Med. 1994 Nov-Dec;22(6):835-40. doi: 10.1177/036354659402200616.


This prospective study examined running history as a risk factor for subsequent overuse injury in Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) recruits. Recruits preparing to be Navy SEALs undergo 6 months of rigorous physical training programs, which place these recruits at high risk for developing an overuse injury. We assessed the independent variables of age; prior running frequency, duration, and pace; and training surface. Univariate and multivariate estimates of risk were determined for each variable. We observed an incidence of 3.4 overuse injuries per 1000 recruit-days. Assessing the physical activity of the recruits in the 6 months before entrance into basic training, we found that the recruits who ran at a pace slower than 8 minutes per mile and on softer training surfaces were more likely to sustain an overuse injury during basic training, in both univariate and multivariate estimates of risk. Recruits who ran fewer weekly miles and for shorter durations before basic training were also more likely to sustain an overuse injury according to univariate estimates of risk. Our findings suggest that risk of overuse injuries can be reduced by adjusting exercise routines before training. Running on different type surfaces with a gradual increase in speed, duration, and weekly mileage in the period preceding basic training may reduce risk of overuse injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • United States