Open Access Research article

A prospective investigation of injury incidence and injury risk factors among army recruits in military police training

Joseph J Knapik1*, Bria Graham1, Jacketta Cobbs2, Diane Thompson3, Ryan Steelman1 and Bruce H Jones1

Author Affiliations

1 US Army Institute of Public Health, Portfolio of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance, ATTN: MCHB-IP-DI, 1570 Stark Road, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, 21010, USA

2 Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Charleston, SC, USA

3 AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 53203, USA

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-32

Published: 17 January 2013



United States Army military police (MP) training is a 19-week course designed to introduce new recruits to basic soldiering skills, Army values and lifestyle, and law enforcement skills and knowledge. The present investigation examined injury rates and injury risk factors in MP training.


At the start of training, 1,838 male and 553 female MP recruits were administered a questionnaire containing items on date of birth, height, weight, tobacco use, prior physical activity, injury history, and menstrual history. Injuries during training were obtained from electronic medical records and the training units provided data on student graduation and attrition.


Successfully graduating from the course were 94.3% of the men and 83.7% of the women. Experiencing at least one injury during training were 34.2% of the men and 66.7% of the women (risk ratio (women/men) = 1.95, 95% confidence interval = 1.79-2.13). Recruits were at higher injury risk if they reported that they were older, had smoked in the past, or had performed less frequent exercise or sports prior to MP training. Men were at higher injury risk if they reported a prior injury and women were at higher risk if they reported missing at least six menstrual cycles in the last year or had previously been pregnant.


The present investigation was the first to identify injury rates and identify specific factors increasing injury risk during MP training.

Age; Smoking; Exercise; Physical activity; Prior injury; Menstrual cycle; Pregnancy