Parachuting injuries among Army Rangers: a prospective survey of an elite airborne battalion

Mil Med. 1996 Jul;161(7):416-9.


Injuries are common in sports and military parachuting. This paper presents results of a prospective survey of parachuting injuries in an airborne Ranger battalion. The Ranger regiment is the U.S Army's most elite airborne infantry, prepared for worldwide deployment without advanced notice. Average unit size was 556 Rangers for the 18 months of follow-up. Other variables examined were type of landing area and time of day. During the follow-up period, all injuries occurring in the battalion were documented, as were all airborne operations. During the survey period, 65 airborne operations were conducted (7,948 static-line and free-fall jumps), which caused 163 injuries to Rangers. Fifty-five percent of the operations and jumps were made at night, and 63, 23, and 14% of operations were onto fields, airports, and unimproved airplane landing strips, respectively. All operations were performed in a tactical environment with equipment. The "static-line" injury rate was 2.2%. The types of injuries were similar to those found in previous reports. Dirt landing strips (4.7% injured) and airports (2.3%) appeared to be more hazardous landing areas than fields (1.6%) and water (0%), and more injuries occurred during night operations (2.7%) than during the day (1.4%). Two and one-half times as many severe injuries occurred at night versus day. This type of information is important for combat airborne operations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aviation*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*