Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Why Today’s ‘Gen Z’ is at Risk for Boot Camp Injuries

Image of Military personnel during boot camp. Recruits perform a warm-up run during a physical training session inside Freedom Hall at Recruit Training Command. More than 35,000 recruits train annually at the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Camilo Fernan)

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles about recruit and trainee training, and how the Military Health System supports the military services in maintaining optimal health as these young men and women go through basic training and recruit training and enter the military.

For today's generation of 18-to-25-year-olds, making it through recruit training and successfully transitioning from civilian life into the military is not easy.

Today's recruits are coming from a far more sedentary lifestyle compared to previous generations, making their skeletons more prone to injuries because they're not used to the kind of intense activity they will face at basic training.

A few weeks of deliberate fitness preparation before shipping out to boot camp or basic training can greatly increase an incoming recruit's chances of success by avoiding the most common injuries that can delay or derail a recruit's completion of initial military training.

"We see injuries ranging from acute fractures and falls, to tears in the ACL, to muscle strains and stress fractures, with the overwhelming majority of injuries related to overuse," said Army Capt. Lydia Blondin, assistant chief of physical therapy at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood.

These occur mostly in the lower extremities, she said. Statistically, females tend to have higher incidence of injury than their male counterparts, she added.

What can recruits do before getting to training?

To prepare for basic training, new recruits should "get off the couch," said Army Maj. Jon-Marc Thibodeau, a clinical coordinator and chief of the medical readiness service line at Fort Leonard Wood. Preparation can include:

  • Start a training program with weight bearing exercises like running, walking, and some weight training.
  • Consider a "Couch-to-5K" running progression program online or something similar to help slowly build into the rigors of basic training, especially if you've never played sports in high school, or if you're older and haven't been super active for a few years, since that makes you significantly more likely to sustain an injury at training.
  • Talk to your recruiter about any train-up opportunities.
  • Make sure you get in that sunshine and drink some milk regularly - Blondin said they commonly see low calcium and vitamin D levels, specifically with bone stress injuries
  • Watching your diet: In general, diet is a huge factor in bone and muscle heath and can significantly affect injury risk and recovery.

For more information to prepare for basic the training, check out this blog from the Human Performance Resources by CHAMP -- the Consortium for Health and Military Performance at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Maryland.

This article has been modified from its original version.

 

 

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
Feb 12, 2024

The Breakfast Club

U.S. Air National Guard Senior Airman Rose Gurley, a dental technician assigned to the 175th Medical Group, noticed that many of her fellow airmen were skipping breakfast due to their early working hours. She organized some of her teammates and began sponsoring morning meals for the medical group. (Photo by U.S. Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Emily Batchelor)

During the early morning hustle of medical personnel, U.S. Air National Guard Senior Airman Rose Gurley, a dental technician assigned to the 175th Medical Group, noticed a common struggle. Many of the airmen were skipping breakfast due to the early working hours.

Article Around MHS
Jan 29, 2024

Beyond Base Boundaries: Travel Team Provide Health Care to Service Members

In a deployed environment, medical services surface as the guardians of readiness. Beyond healing wounds, these services fortify the resilience of forces and are a critical component in military preparedness. That’s why a team comprised of dental and optometry specialists traveled to provide dental and optometry care for service members within the U.S ...

Article Around MHS
Dec 28, 2023

Making Feats for the Feet with Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Podiatrist

U.S. Navy Lt. Edee Renier, staff podiatrist assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton’s  Orthopedic department shares her expertise in handling foot and ankle specific medical conditions, such as ankle sprains, strains, and fractures.  (Photo by Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton public affairs officer)

When it comes to healing heels, such feats for the feet are the specialty of Naval Hospital Bremerton’s foot doctor. U.S. Navy Lt. Edee Renier, staff podiatrist assigned to NHB’s Orthopedic department, is helping U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps personnel keep operational ready and able to stand on their own two feet.

Article Around MHS
Sep 28, 2023

Nebraska Air National Guard State Surgeon’s Path Leads Him to Professional Boxing’s Highest Pinnacle

Nebraska Air National Guard Col. (Dr.) Mark Shirley takes in a practice at Mick Doyle’s Kickboxing and Fitness Center in Omaha, Nebraska, on Oct. 10, 2022. A member of the Nebraska Air National Guard where he serves as the state surgeon, Shirley is also a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a member of the emergency department staff of the Memorial Community Hospital and Health System in Blair, Nebraska. (Photo: U.S. Air Force National Guard Lt. Col. Kevin Hynes)

Dressed in surgical scrubs, Nebraska Air National Guard Col. Mark Shirley looks like any other medical doctor pulling a 24-hour emergency department shift. Shirley serves as the state air surgeon where he oversees the medical support required to keep the Nebraska Air Guard’s approximately 1,000 airmen ready to support any and every federal or state ...

Article Around MHS
Jun 28, 2023

88th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Focused on ‘Fit to Fight’ Force

Brenda Couch watches over U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ron Sparkman, a student at the 155th medical group with the Nebraska National Guard, as he checks vitals on an airman during training at Wright-Patterson Medical Center on June 13. Operational Medical Readiness Squadron was this month’s pick for “Dominate the Dirty Work,” a series of stories offering an in depth look at the hard working and dedicated individuals that often go unseen. (Photo: Kenneth J. Stiles, U.S. Air Force)

The 88th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron provides direct support to U.S. Air Force operations by promoting and sustaining force health, preventing injury and illness, restoring health, and elevating human performance. Its top priority is ensuring airmen and military members are medically ready to execute their missions at home-base and deployed ...

Last Updated: January 19, 2024
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery