Date of Award


Degree Name

Exercise Science


College of Health Professions

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Mark Timmons, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Gary McIlvain

Third Advisor

MSG Brook Bailey


Context: Musculoskeletal injury in military personnel creates problems due to economic losses, and decreased training. The repetitive motions associated with military training and the daily physical training sessions can lead to the development of fatigue. Fatigue has been shown to contribute to 18% - 26% of musculoskeletal injuries. [7] Several studies have explored fatigue as a risk of injury during occupation. Fatigue has been shown to increase the perceived effort during physical exercise. The purpose of this study was to characterize the perception of effort during physical training sessions and injury rates in ROTC cadets throughout an academic year.

Methods: The design of this study is a retrospective records review. The participants in the study are ROTC cadets from a collegiate institution. ROTC cadets participated in physical training five days a week for 65 to 90 minutes. A modified Borg perceived exertion scale was used to determine the Cadet’s perception of their effort (RPE) during regular physical training sessions. The Borg scale is a 1 point scale (0 = no effort, ten = very, very strong), 64 ROTC provided ratings of perceived exertion. Cadets completed the survey following all physical training sessions. Cadets excluded from results reported RPE ratings at six or below. Twelve (12) cadets reported an injury to the Athletic Training staff. The mean RPE, acute and chronic workloads, mean RPE during the week the cadet reports an injury and mean RPE during the four weeks before the reported injury respectfully followed the acute to chronic workload ratio. The University IRB approved this investigation.

Results: A total of 1,426 RPEs during the 23 weeks completed data collection. With RPE ratings at six or below, seventeen cadets did not contribute to the study. The average RPE rating was a six (6) on the Borg Scale. Twelve (12) injuries reported by 11 cadets (6 males and five females); of these injuries, six were acute, and six were chronic. An injured cadet having an RPE score at six or below did not contribute to data collection. The ten injured cadets reported 419 RPEs with their mean RPE 5.2 ± .5 on the Borg scale. The cadets not reporting injuries mean RPE was 5.8 ± 1.8. The injured acute workload was 5.3 ± 1.9 for the injured cadets and 5.2 ± .8 for the non-injured cadets. The injured cadets’ chronic workload was 5.0 ± 1.0 for the injured cadets and 5.3 ± .3 for the non-injured cadets. The injured cadets’ workload ratio was 1.06 ± .4 for the injured cadets and .96 ± .1 for the non-injured cadets. None of these differences reached statistical significance.

Conclusion: Ratings of perceived exertion and workload ratios did not differ between ROTC cadets that reported or did not report a musculoskeletal injury.


Soldiers -- Health and hygiene -- United States.

Musculoskeletal system -- Wounds and injuries.