News: Recruits undergo pool therapy, keep eyes on goal
Story by Cpl. Kristin Moreno
SAN DIEGO -- One of the biggest fears recruits have during basic training is getting injured. And although preventative measures are taken, not all injuries are completely avoidable.
In an effort to get recruits back into the fight as soon as possible, the Medical Rehabilitation Platoon, where injured recruits go to recover, participates in one-hour pool therapy sessions twice a week at the swim tank here.
“Pool therapy is meant for recruits in the second phase of recovery,” said Anthony Flesuras, Sports Medicine Injury Prevention program athletic trainer for Support Battalion. “The water buoyancy takes away a lot of the weight so they can work out without a lot of stress on their bones.”
During the first phase of recovery, recruits are unable to complete any physical training. During phase two, they’re allowed to complete low-impact exercises but no weight lifting. Once in phase three of recovery, they have no physical limitations. They begin weight lifting and light distance running, then slowly transition into farther distances and more weight until they’re at the physical level needed to return to recruit training.
The main focus of pool therapy sessions is to work out the lower extremities. This is done by executing various movement exercises and directional exercises so all muscles get worked out.
Flesuras said he also has the recruits do about 10 minutes of upper-body exercises, 10-15 minutes of core exercises and then organized lap swim so they can get a good full-body workout from the session.
“Pool therapy definitely works out the injured area and it feels a lot better after,” said Recruit Matthew Gunder, who has been in MRP for five weeks due to stress fractures in both tibias. “I can see progress after each session.”
Gunder was dropped at training day 57, just before heading to the crucible. He said the hardest part about being in MRP is just waiting longer to complete training. He stays motivated by looking at the eagle, globe and anchor on his left breast pocket every day. He said that’s what keeps him going.
The Medical Rehabilitation Platoon keeps a more relaxed atmosphere from recruit training to help with the recovery process; however, they still have to maintain the recruit mindset, said Staff Sgt. Salvador Morales, senior drill instructor for MRP. While not attending medical appointments and therapy sessions, the recruits stay busy by receiving classes on various topics, such as brain structure, first aid procedures and uniform regulations.
Their time in MRP depends on the type of injury and how quickly they can recover. It’s not unusual for recruits to be there for several months.
The longer they’re in MRP, the harder it is to keep them motivated, said Morales. We want to get them back into training as quick as possible and see them succeed. Pool therapy is one of the ways we do that.