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3rd Infantry Division Soldiers host Georgia Southern students as part of Fort Stewart Tactical Athlete Program

3rd Infantry Division Soldiers host Georgia Southern students as part of Fort Stewart Tactical Athlete Program

Story by MAJ Peter Bogart on 03/12/2019

“How do we make our Soldiers bigger, faster, and stronger while ensuring we do it without injuring them?”

Capt. Ian Allen, Raider Brigade Physical Therapist, led with this question when the brigade hosted students and faculty from Georgia Southern University (GSU) on Friday, March 8 as part of the Fort Stewart Tactical Athlete Program. The event included participants from the Physical Therapy, Athletic Training, and Exercise Science departments.

According to recent profile reports, approximately 25% of 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers have some sort of musculoskeletal limitation that is managed by healthcare providers.

“When you put those numbers into context, the 25% consists of over 4000 individual Soldiers, or about the size of a Brigade,” said Maj. Christopher Remillard, Division Physical Therapist. “This drives home the importance of investing in injury prevention and human performance programming and resources.”

One of those investments is the ongoing partnership with GSU that began with a partnership between the GSU and Winn Army Community Hospital physical therapy programs. Dr. Nancy Henderson is a physical therapy graduate professor at GSU and has been partnering with Fort Stewart for the last three years. Henderson said that her students enjoy the opportunity to work with Soldiers. Not only does this partnership provide students with an opportunity to help others and give back while also building confidence in themselves.

“Friday’s event provided our students with a much better insight as to the physical demands of Soldiers at Fort Stewart,” said Henderson. “This added knowledge will help them to better tailor their education while working with Soldiers.”

The visit started with briefings from Capt. Allen and a demonstration of the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). During lunch in the Thunder Cafe, GSU faculty and students discussed Soldier nutritional challenges with Capt. Jennifer Lopera, Winn Army Community Hospital’s Chief of Clinical Dietetics. Afterwards, the visitors traveled to a motor pool and were given demonstrations of gear and equipment by Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.

The Soldiers demonstrated vehicle capabilities, CASEVAC procedures, individual movement techniques, and maintenance operations. Throughout the demonstrations, students and faculty were given the chance to put on gear, climb in the vehicles, and execute the same tasks so that they could gain a better understanding of the physical demands placed on Soldiers in an armored brigade combat team.

Dr. Marji Freeze is the Community Ready and Resilient Integrator for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield and said that a holistic approach to physical readiness is crucial to the health and wellness of Soldiers and Families.

“We are excited to continue to grow our partnerships with Georgia Southern University and the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) as we develop and implement tailored initiatives to improve readiness,” said Freeze. “Maj. Gen. Quintas’s Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council is partnering with the Garrison and Medical Treatment Facility Commanders and their teams in order to create a healthy environment at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.”

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