The University of the Incarnate Word along with Lackland Air Force Base have been awarded a Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) Intramural Research Award to fund a project titled: “Athletic Trainer Integration in U.S. Air Force Basic Training: Reducing Injury and Related Costs.” The project will be led by UIW Athletic Trainers Dr. Shandra Esparza and Dr. Reid Fisher in partnership with Lackland.
The 30-month, $980,000 project will embed two certified athletic trainers within an Air Force Squadron of 1200 Trainee Airmen at the base in San Antonio, Texas. The project expects to demonstrate the efficacy of applying a sports-medicine model of patient care to Air Force basic training, thereby reducing the costs associated with musculoskeletal injury and subsequent recycling and attrition. Activities such as gait analysis and early injury intervention will be the focus in order to reduce stress pathologies from progressing.
The results of the study will be used as proof-of-concept for the newly established Air Force Versatile Injury Prevention and Embedded Reconditioning (VIPER) program which plans to expand the use of athletic trainers throughout military conditioning and injury recognition under their purview.