Musculoskeletal Injury in AMEDD Soldiers


Name: Elmer Combs

Rank: LTC, USA

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC

Year Published: 2002

Abstract Status: Final


This study examined selected physiological, psychosocial, and lifestyle risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries in active duty Army Medical Department (AMEDD) soldiers assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), Washington, DC. This descriptive-correlational study followed an expanded version of the Anderson and Williams model of stress and athletic injury, using a cross-sectional survey design.Male and female AMEDD soldiers of various ages, races, ranks, and Areas of Concentration (AOCs)/Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs) participated. The study questionnaire was a series of demographic questions on age, race, sex, AOC (officers) or MOS (enlisted), injury history, work hours, and tobacco and alcohol use. The Life Events Survey (LES) and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WAYS) were also used.Questionnaires were distributed to active duty soldiers assigned to WRAMC by duty section. A follow-up letter and second copy of the questionnaire were distributed 3 weeks later to those who did not respond. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics (frequencies and measures of central tendency), logistic regression, chi-square tests, exploratory factor analysis, and Cronbach's alpha coefficients.A total of 337 respondents (52.9%) reported at least one injury in the previous year, with more than 11,000 hours of lost duty time (29.8 hours per injured soldier). Overuse injuries were most frequent (43%) and occurred primarily while exercising. Injuries did not necessarily occur during the physical fitness test. Injuries were more likely to occur in those who (1) smoked, (2) scored negatively on the LES, or (3) exhibited confrontative, self controlling, accepting responsibility, and escape-avoidance coping strategies on the WAYS. Of the participants, 11% reported they did not engage in weekly aerobic exercise, and 15% reported that they did not do weekly strengthening exercise.This study could help develop interventions aimed at preventing musculoskeletal injury, reducing lost and limited-duty time, and improving AMEDD mission readiness.


Final report is available on NTRL: