Injuries are a major burden for any military organization as they; reduce personnel availability for active duty, detract from operational capability, and come at a great individual and organizational cost. Increasingly, militaries from around the world have removed restrictions on female personnel serving in direct combat roles, highlighting the importance of female military personnel in the overall functioning of an effective defence force. Across most research, female military personnel are proposed to have a higher general injury rate than male personnel. There are known differences between female and male personnel with respect to typical or average anthropometrics, biomechanics, and anatomy which may affect injury risk and profiles of injury. Female military personnel are often considered to be at a physical disadvantage, due to typically lower mass, higher body fat, and consequential lower muscle strength and endurance when compared to male personnel. When performing common military tasks such as carrying load, lifting, and carrying weight, females typically work at a higher workload than their male peers, relative to their maximal capacity. Consequently, broad injury reduction programs that do not consider these factors in their design may be limited in their effectiveness for female personnel. Determining similarities and differences between female and male personnel about rates of occurrence and distributions and risk factors of injury is a vital step in any informed injury reduction program.
This webinar will explore the role of females in the tactical domain and provide some insight into this unique environment. It will report on the findings of a recent project whose intent was to; investigate injury risk factors for female military personnel, examine the differences in injury rates between female and male personnel, report on current injury trends in the Australian Army, and highlight injury reduction strategies specifically for female personnel. Knowledge in this area is expected to assist health professionals in conditioning or rehabilitating female tactical personnel prior to embarking on a career in this area or for return-to-work programs after injury.
Presented by Dr Ben Schram, BExSci, DPhty, PhD, TSAC-F