Measures of Lower Body Strength Associated With Injuries in Australian Special Forces Selection Candidates

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Department of Health Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • | 2 Australian Army, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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The diverse and grueling nature of activities undertaken during Special Forces selection makes it difficult to develop physical training to improve performance and reduce injury risk. It is generally accepted that increased strength is protective against injury, but it is unclear if this is evident in a Special Forces selection environment. This study investigated the effect of the rigors of a Special Forces selection course has on performance of the isometric mid-thigh pull, countermovement jump, squat jump, drop landing, elastic utilization ratio (EUR), and injury occurrence. Throughout the course, 26% of participants sustained a preventable lower limb injury, with 65% of these occurring at the knee. The uninjured had higher values of absolute strength as measured by isometric mid-thigh pull peak absolute force (3399 [371] N, 3146 [307] N; P = .022) and lower EUR (0.94 [0.08], 1.01 [0.09]; P = .025) compared to the injured. Preventable knee injury was significantly correlated with isometric mid-thigh pull (r = −.245, P = .031) and EUR (r = .227, P = .044). The selection course altered EUR for uninjured individuals only (P = .004). Findings indicate that individuals with higher strength levels may be at a lower risk of injury than their weaker counterparts.

Doyle (tim.doyle@mq.edu.au) is corresponding author.

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