Gymnastic Injuries & the Army School of Physical Training.

PT Corps, Army, BadgeResearch Paper Title

Role of Gymnastics in the Army School of Physical Training.


As a result of a single spinal injury seen at Frimley Park Hospital, the researchers reviewed the injuries recorded at the Army School of Physical Training since December 1996.


This was a retrospective review of all acute accidents and injuries recorded in the Accident Book since its inception.


Over 75% of the injuries that were serious enough to result in soldiers having their training terminated were as a direct result of gymnastic events such as vaulting, trampolining and somersaults. These events were also responsible for most of the small number of career-threatening injuries.


This raises questions about the inclusion of gymnastic events in course training programmes, especially when considering its relevance to army training in general.

Source: Griffiths, D.E., Hargrove, R. & Clasper, J. (2006) Role of Gymnastics in the Army School of Physical Training. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 88 (5), 459-461.

The above conclusion by the researchers displays a fundamental lack of understanding of why gymnastics is still retained in the PTI training programmes. Gymnastics helps soldiers develop balance, agility, strength, flexibility and overcome fear. As a former soldier and PTI, I know that these are important aspects for both PTI and soldiers in general. Most of the injuries will no doubt have occurred because the stand-in(s) did not do their job correctly.

The researchers also only conducted an audit of the accident book and did not actually speak to soldiers or ASPT staff. Over the 8 year audit period the ASPT trained approximately 3200 soldiers or which 162 (5.06%) sustained an injury, with 37 gymnastic injuries (1.15%).


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