Injury and Illness Surveillance During the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games


  • Robert Lystrup United States Air Force
  • Chad Hulsopple National Capital Consortium Sports Medicine Fellowship Program
  • Jeffrey Leggit Uniformed Services University School of Medicine
  • Jeremiah "Jake" Mills United States Navy
  • Timothy Hansen United States Army


Wounded warriors, Department of Defense Warrior Games, injuries, disabilities


The 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games is an adaptive, multi-sport event for wounded service members from the United States and international partners. The purpose of this study was to describe the injury/ illness outcomes of the 2019 DoD Warrior Games. Using a descriptive epidemiological study design, 295 wounded warrior (WW) athletes were followed over the 15-day course of the Warrior Games. Treatment team members recorded all encounters, injury or illness characterization, and the treatment provided. Results from June 16 to June 30, 2019 found that 107 medical encounters were recorded and entered into a database. Injuries accounted for 64% and illnesses 36% of encounters. Athlete days were calculated by multiplying the number of athletes by the total number of days for the warrior games. Thus the total number of athlete days was 295 athletes x 15 days = 4,425 athlete days. The incident rate of injuries was 15.6 per 1,000 athlete days. The incident rate of illness was 8.6 per 1000 athlete days. The most common injury was a low back strain, and the most common illness was heat exhaustion. Integrative medicine treatments such as acupuncture, osteopathic manipulative therapy, massage, and Gua Sha (a form of skin scraping) were the most common treatment modalities (26%). This event is the second time a surveillance system has been used to track injury patterns and the associated medical utilization at the Department of Defense Warrior Games. This surveillance data provides another useful benchmark in planning for future events.





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