Study on training injuries reveals patterns among recruits and officer cadets

Marie-Andrée Laroche and Captain Carole-Anne Dufour
Marie-Andrée Laroche, an exercise specialist for the Personnel Support Programs who is involved in Phase 1 (injured members) of the Training Reintegration Program at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS), in the company of Captain Carole-Anne Dufour, of 41 Canadian Forces Health Services Centre Saint-Jean, during a presentation of the results in Regina. Photo: Servir

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Courtesy of Servir (in French only)

Marie-Andrée Laroche, who is an exercise specialist with the Personnel Support Programs (PSP) and involved with Phase 1 (injured members) of the Training and Reintegration Program (TRP) at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS), has been leading a study of injury patterns among recruits and officer cadets.

A few years ago, noticing the significant number of injuries that candidates suffered, Ms. Laroche took the initiative of compiling data on the subject. She and Captain Carole-Anne Dufour, a physiotherapist, presented the results analysis in mid-October during The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research convention.

Ms. Laroche has been developing a database since 2014 made up of a sample of over 10,000 entries. This is the first study to be conducted involving recruits and officer cadets within the Canadian Army.

Among other things, this large-scale study has revealed that the frequency of injury is 3.5 times higher among recruits than among officer cadets (7% and 2% respectively). At the time of their arrival, women make up 16 to 19% of the members of a platoon, but they make up 38 to 40% of Phase 1 candidates.

As for the type of injuries that people suffer, 70% are lower body injuries, and 58% of those are due to accumulation (walking, stairs, basic drill, running, etc). There is also a link between having a higher score on the FORCE test and having a higher rate of injury.

Given these results, Marie-Andrée Laroche maintains that it is essential to prepare future candidates as soon as they register at the Canadian Armed Forces recruiting centre, and to promote interventions to prevent injuries.

Pedometer results

With regards to the high number of lower body injuries, Marie-Andrée Laroche conducted an analysis of the number of steps that recruits and officer cadets took during their basic training last spring. To do that, one platoon of recruits and one platoon of officer cadets wore pedometers from the start of their training to their end-of-course ceremony. The results were as follows:

  • 13,500 steps per day was the average for recruits and officer cadets;
  • Walking is better distributed among officer cadet platoons than among recruit platoons;
  • There is no difference in the total number of steps taken, despite candidates’ lower body restrictions.

Note that the tool used is not very precise, but it provided an overview of the situation. Other analyses with a more reliable tool will be conducted soon.

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