Story by SSG John Briggs on 02/17/2017JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. The deployability status of today's soldiers has leaders of all echelons asking what can be done to assist our injured reserves so they are fit to fight.
The Lancer Brigade opened the Lancer Performance Center during a ceremony here, Feb. 14, as part of the process of incorporating the 7th Infantry Division's Bayonet Warrior Athlete Program.
After a 14-month process, the Lancer medical staff teamed with trained BWAP functional fitness coaches can now enhance the brigade's ability to provide physical therapy sessions, classes and qualifications throughout the ranks.
"I couldn't be more enthusiastic about what we have accomplished here," said Col. Jerry Turner, Commander, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. "Exercise science has improved so much over the years, we need to solve old problems in new ways."
As more Soldiers take advantage of the opportunity to improve their exercise technique, leaders expect a positive impact on unit deployable readiness.
"First thing is, it needs to be focused on the Brigade Combat Team," said Maj. Michael Moore, Brigade Surgeon, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. "Each BCT would establish this to provide that bridge between acute care and the acute injury into an environment where they are able to progress back into normal function as a soldier."
"This fills a gap between the end of normal rehabilitation processes, and the soldier's ability to fully perform their MOS duties," said Moore.
The motivation behind BWAP is to improve physical training and readiness, while decreasing injuries through better education. The Lancer Performance Center incorporates the same philosophy of preventative training, while maintaining focus on those already impacted by injuries.
"We need to get out in front of the injury before it happens," explained Cpt. Shane McDonald, a physical therapist assigned to Lancer Brigade. "Nearly all of the exercise-related injuries we have are not accidental, but due to improper training, whether we know it's improper or not."
"The idea of having the physical therapists in the brigade, master fitness trainers and BWAP trained functional fitness coaches is to help get that word out," said McDonald.
For programs to be effective, Soldiers and leaders need to make use of what's available to them.
Moore concludes, "The time is now for the Lancers to take advantage of this opportunity. The benefits of the facility and Master Fitness Trainers down to the company level impacts more than just mission requirements, it improves the quality and performance of our soldiers; which in turn increases morale and readiness."