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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jun;33(6):946-54.

Risk factors for training-related injuries among men and women in basic combat training.

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Directorate of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance, U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010, USA.



Past investigations indicate that training-related injuries are associated with certain performance-oriented measures of physical fitness and certain lifestyle characteristics. This study examined associations between injuries, direct (physiological) measures of physical fitness, and lifestyle characteristics.


Subjects were 756 men and 474 women performing the standardized activities involved in U.S. Army Basic Combat Training (BCT). Before BCT, a subsample of subjects (182 men and 168 women) were administered a series of tests that included a treadmill running test (peak VO2), dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (for body composition), several measures of muscle strength, a hamstring flexibility test, and a vertical jump. A questionnaire addressed smoking habits and prior physical activity. All subjects were administered the Army Physical Fitness test consisting of push-ups, sit-ups, and a 3.2-km run. Gender, age, stature, and body mass were obtained from physical examination records. Injuries incurred during BCT were transcribed from medical records; for each medical visit, the diagnosis, anatomical location, disposition (final outcome of visit), and days of limited duty were recorded.


Women had over twice the injury rate of men. For men and women, fewer push-ups, slower 3.2-km run times, lower peak VO2, and cigarette smoking were risk factors for time-loss injury. Among the men only, lower levels of physical activity before BCT and both high and low levels of flexibility were also time-loss injury risk factors. Multivariate analysis revealed that lower peak VO2 and cigarette smoking were independent risk factors for time-loss injury.


Lower aerobic capacity and cigarette smoking were independently associated with a higher likelihood of injury in both men and women during a standardized program of physical training. Further studies are needed to assess associations between injury and body composition and muscular strength.

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