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Aviat Space Environ Med. 1997 Nov;68(11):1006-11.

Injury among female and male army parachutists.

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U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Military Performance Division, Natick, MA 01760-5007, USA.



While military parachuting injuries have been well studied, the relationship between gender and risk of injury has not. Injuries among women may be different due to anatomic and physiologic differences, or due to exposure to different jump conditions. Training methods and equipment developed for men may not be as effective in preventing injuries among women.


We hypothesize that the nature and distribution of parachute injuries will vary by gender.


This descriptive retrospective study used 10 yr of parachute injury data reported to the U.S. Army Safety Center at Fort Rucker, AL, and exposure data obtained from the Defense Manpower Data Center, Monterey, CA.


Women appear to jump under less hazardous conditions (jump more often than men in daylight and in static-line, non-tactical environments), yet appear to be at greater risk of serious injury, particularly lower extremity fractures. Injured male parachutists are more likely to experience upper extremity injury. Women's injuries are more likely to be the result of an improper parachute landing fall or parachute malfunction, while men are more likely to be injured due to ground hazards.


There are some provocative gender differences in patterns of injury. Further research is indicated starting with a comprehensive, prospective study, controlling for physical fitness and exposure differences, as well as for potential reporting bias, in order to better understand the apparent differences in reported injuries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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