MARSOC Injury Prevention and Human Performance Research

Grants and Contracts Details


Physical readiness of the Operator has been impacted by suboptimal physical and physiological characteristics and compounded with poor or inadequate nutrition. The lack of scientifically guided physical training significantly diminishes physical readiness and predisposes the Operator to a greater risk of musculoskeletal injury and impacts the ability to support tactical requirements necessary under extreme conditions. The Operator is the weapons platform of Special Operations Forces and optimal physical readiness will promote tactical performance and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. A human performance research model was developed to address the culturally-specific injury prevention and human performance needs of Naval Special Warfare (NSW), US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). These laboratories serve to scientifically promote the understanding and application of human performance and injury prevention with implications for the Department of Defense as a whole. The collected data have suggested there are several suboptimal biomechanical, musculoskeletal, physiological, and nutritional characteristics that are detrimental to injury potential, tactical operations, and physical readiness: „h Identified command-specific injury patterns[1-5] „h Landing in positions of mechanical inefficiency during tactical activities/further impacted by carrying external loads[6, 7] „h Higher than desirable body fat related to less than capable anaerobic and aerobic efficiency[8] „h Body fat results appear to be associated with less than desirable nutrient distribution in the diet for highly physically active persons[9-12] „h Significant bilateral asymmetry exists across a wide range of strength, flexibility, balance, and biomechanical variables[6] „h Significant suboptimal scores exist in subsets of units[13-23]and related to prior injury history[18, 20, 21, 24] „h Insufficient and inappropriate macronutrient distribution diet and high supplement usage[9- 12] Based on the findings of our research, separate interventions were developed and tested in laboratory and field settings to modify injury mitigating characteristics, optimize physical readiness, and reduce preventable musculoskeletal injuries: „h Demonstrated improvements in musculoskeletal and physiological characteristics necessary for physical readiness, improving athleticism, and reducing the likelihood of musculoskeletal injury[25, 26] „h Demonstrated improvements in performance and tactically-specific testing „h Demonstrated significant reduction in preventable musculoskeletal injury rates including overuse injuries and injuries to the upper extremity, lower extremity, knee, and lumbopelvic regions[27] „h Developed Instructor Certification School (ICS) for tactical personnel to implement validated intervention[25]
Effective start/end date8/1/159/30/18


  • Office of Naval Research


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