Analysing US Army Injuries using Casual Energy Categories

Research Paper Title

Using causal energy categories to report the distribution of injuries in an active population: An approach used by the U.S. Army.

Background

To describe the aetiologic distribution of all injuries among U.S. Army Active Duty soldiers by causal energy categories. This was a retrospective cohort, descriptive analysis.

Methods

Injury was defined as the interruption of tissue function caused by an external energy transfer (mechanical, thermal, radiant, nuclear, chemical, or electrical energy). A comprehensive injury matrix standardised categories by causal energies, body locations, and injury types. Categories differentiated acute (ACT) from cumulative micro-traumatic (CMT) overuse injuries, and musculoskeletal injuries (MSKI) from those affecting other or multiple body systems (non-MSKI). International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnoses codes were organised into established categories. The matrix was applied to electronic health records for U.S. Army soldiers in 2017.

Results

Mechanical energy transfers caused most injuries (97%, n = 809,914): 76% were CMT overuse and the remaining were ACT (<21%). The majority (83%) were MSKI (71% CMT, 12% ACT). While almost one-half (47%) were to lower extremities (38% CMT, 9% ACT) the most frequently injured anatomical sites were the knee and lower back (16% each, primarily CMT).

Conclusions

For the first time all soldiers’ injuries have been presented in the same context for consistent comparisons. Findings confirm the vast majority of injuries in this physically-active population are MSKI, and most are CMT MSKI. A very small portion are non-MSKI or injuries caused by non-mechanical energy (e.g., heat- or cold-weather). Most Army injuries are to the lower extremities as a grouped body region, but additional matrix specificity indicates the most injured anatomical locations are the knee, lower back, and shoulder.

Reference

Hauschild, V.D., Schuh-Renner, A., Lee, T., Richardson, M.D., Hauret, K. & Jones, B.H. (2019) Using causal energy categories to report the distribution of injuries in an active population: An approach used by the U.S. Army. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. pii: S1440-2440(19)30099-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2019.04.001. [Epub ahead of print].

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