Reported load carriage injuries of the Australian Army soldier
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Introduction Many injuries experienced by soldiers can be attributed to the occupational loads they are required to carry. Purpose The aim of this study was to determine whether contemporary military load carriage is a source of injuries to Australian Regular Army soldiers and to profile these injuries. Methods The Australian Defence Force ‘Occupational Health, Safety and Compensation Analysis and Reporting’ database was searched to identify all reported injuries sustained during load carriage events. Key search terms were employed and narrative description fields were interrogated to increase data accuracy. Results A total of 1,954 injury records were extracted from the database. Of these, 404 injuries were attributed to load carriage. The majority of these load carriage injuries involved either the lower limb or back, with bones and joints accounting for the most frequently reported body structures to be injured. Field activities were the leading activities being performed at the time that load carriage injuries occurred, and muscular stress was identified as the mechanism of injury for over half of reported load carriage injuries. Conclusion This study suggests that load carriage is a substantial source of injury risk to Australian Army soldiers. Physical training may fail to adequately prepare soldiers for load carriage tasks during field training exercises.
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