Attrition: The Sporting Life


April 2, 2009: In the last decade, the U.S. military has been increasingly looking to the "sports medicine" industry for new techniques and equipment for rehabilitating soldiers injured in combat, or due to accidents. Seems that the this is a good fit. Most injured soldiers are in combat units, where physical fitness is a minor religion. Even combat support troops are required to stay in above average (compared to the general population) physical shape. Moreover, two of the more popular civilian sports (for professionals, schools and the general public) are inclined to create injures (basketball and American football). The sports use very wealthy players, who (along with their teams) can afford extraordinary treatment for injuries. The medical industry has responded by developing new equipment and treatments to deal with this. The military is using that to treat many of their wounded, especially since most of them suffer from blast (roadside and suicide) bomb injuries that cause injuries similar to traumas suffered by the professional athletes.

There has been an explosion of sport medicine technology and technique in the last two decades. So much so, that the military had a hard time ignoring it. That's because, in peacetime, thousands of military personnel suffer serious sports injuries each year. Once the fighting in Iraq picked up, it was only a matter of time before troops in need of physical rehabilitation became familiar with the most recent sports medicine resources available. Sports medicine has also done a lot of work on treating concussions and similar trauma to the brain. This work also became valuable in treating over 10,000 troops suffering some degree of concussion from explosions.



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