Injury Prevention for Active Duty Personnel

Last Updated: September 25, 2023
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​​​​​​​​​An injuryExternal Link is damage to a body caused by an external energy (e.g., acute o​r repeated mechanical traumas, environmental, biological, chemical, or electrical sources). 

When the damage requires a medical visit, the type of injury is captured in Service Members' electronic medical record (EHR). Military public health experts analyze EHR and report statistics for all injuries organized by type of causal energy source (referred to as the "Taxonomy of Injuries​").External Link​ 


Chart showing Burden of Injuries summary by disease category, active duty Army 2018

  • Majority (>2/3) of military injuries are musculoskeletal OVERUSE injuries ($millions annually)
  • Key fatal and severe injuries in the military are due to motor-vehicles, heat, and cold weather​​
  • Most common cause of acute injuries (fractures, sprains, strains) is accidental falls
  • Having certain injuries, such as musculoskeletal injuries to a particular body region, and heat- or cold-weather injuries, may predispose a person to a similar injury or long-term injury-related condition
  • See your installation's data

  • Reduce time loss to physical restrictions for work/training (temporary profile​)External Link 
  • Decrease costs (direct medical, compensation/disability, & lost duty time)
  • Improve overall performance (individual and unit)

  • 2023 report: Standardized Approach to Department of Defense Medical Surveillance of Injuries: Initial Objectives of the Military Injuries Working Group, 2019 -2022External Link (May 2023). Injuries were the leading reason for military medical visits across Services (42%, 44%, 50%, and 35% for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy, respectively). This was 2 to 4 times that of the next most common medical encounter category (mental and behavioral health conditions). The types of injuries were similar across the Services – e.g., for each Service 97% of injuries were the result of mechanical energy transfers, while less than 1% injuries were caused by environmental factors such as heat, cold weather extremes, or altitude. Also consistent among Services, the majority (75% or more) of mechanical injuries were cumulative microtrauma injuries (overuse from repetitive activities). Acute trauma injuries ranged from 20 to 25%. The most commonly injured body region among Services are musculoskeletal tissue injuries to lower extremities. 

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