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Journal Article


Lovalekar M, Johnson CD, Eagle S, Wohleber MF, Keenan KA, Beals K, Nindl BC, Connaboy C. BMJ Open Sport Exerc. Med. 2018; 4(1): e000471.


Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


(Copyright © 2018, British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Publisher BMJ Publishing Group)








OBJECTIVES: Musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) are an important concern in military populations. The purpose of this study was to describe the burden of MSI and associated financial cost, in a sample of US Air Force Special Operations Command Special Tactics Operators.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, medical records of the Operators were reviewed during the years 2014-2015. MSI that occurred during a 1-year period prior to the date of review were described. MSI attributes described included incidence, anatomic location, cause, activity when MSI occurred, type and lifetime cost of MSI estimated using the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System.

RESULTS: A total of 130 Operators participated in the study (age: 29.1±5.2 years). The 1-year cumulative incidence of MSI was 49.2 injured Operators/100 Operators/year. The most frequent anatomic location and sublocation for MSI were the lower extremity (40.9% of MSI) and shoulder (20.9%), respectively. Lifting was a common cause of MSI (21.8%). A large per cent of MSI (55.5%) occurred while Operators were engaged in either physical or tactical training. Common MSI types were pain/spasm/ache (44.5%). Many MSI (41.8%) were classified as potentially preventable by an injury prevention training programme. The total lifetime cost of these MSI was estimated to be approximately US$1.2 million.

CONCLUSION: MSI are an important cause of morbidity and financial cost in this sample of Air Force Special Tactics Operators. There is a need to develop a customised injury prevention programme to reduce the burden and cost of MSI in this population.

Language: en


epidemiology; injuries; public Health; sports medicine


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