Descriptive epidemiology of musculoskeletal injuries in naval special warfare sea, air, and land operators

Mita Lovalekar, John P. Abt, Timothy C. Sell, Dallas E. Wood, Scott M. Lephart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The purpose of this analysis was to describe medical chart reviewed musculoskeletal injuries among Naval Special Warfare Sea, Air, and Land Operators. 210 Operators volunteered (age: 28.1 ± 6.0 years, height: 1.8 ± 0.1 m, weight: 85.4 ± 9.3 kg). Musculoskeletal injury data were extracted from subjects’ medical charts, and injuries that occurred during 1 year were described. Anatomic location of injury, cause of injury, activity when injury occurred, and injury type were described. The frequency of injuries was 0.025 per Operator per month. Most injuries involved the upper extremity (38.1% of injuries). Frequent anatomic sublocations for injuries were the shoulder (23.8%) and lumbopelvic region of the spine (12.7%). Lifting was the cause of 7.9% of injuries. Subjects were participating in training when 38.1% of injuries occurred and recreational activity/sports when 12.7% of injuries occurred. Frequent injury types were strain (20.6%), pain/spasm/ache (19.0%), fracture (11.1%), and sprain (11.1%). The results of this analysis underscore the need to investigate the risk factors, especially of upper extremity and physical activity related injuries, in this population of Operators. There is a scope for development of a focused, customized injury prevention program, targeting the unique injury profile of this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-69
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank those Operators who participated in this study. This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research number N00014-11-1-0929.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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