By Joel McFarlandOctober 22, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla. Oct. 22, 2019 -- As any Solider knows taking care of weapons and equipment is a way of life in the military. Preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) on each piece of equipment is meticulously documented and recorded to ensure that it is ready when needed. The same should apply to Soldiers themselves, but more often than not we fail to take care of our health and fitness the same way we take care of our equipment.
The Physical Therapy Clinic at Reynolds Army Health Clinic in partnership with Fort Sill and the Fires Center of Excellence has developed a Reconditioning Physical Readiness Training (RPRT) program to promote a healthier force in line with the holistic health programs instituted by Fort Sill leadership.
"A large portion of profiles that we see in the Physical Therapy Clinic are a result of musculoskeletal injuries," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Vestal, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Physical Therapy Clinic at RAHC. "The Reconditioning Physical Readiness Training course is a three-day class that the physical therapists teach Soldiers so they understand how to conduct physical training for their own Soldiers who are on a musculoskeletal profile. The course is designed to assist units with readiness and help to reduce Soldiers re-injury rate, and their time on profile by ensuring they remain active and are fully prepared to reintegrate back into normal physical training. We want to empower squad and team level leaders on physical training aspects for the injured Soldier to prevent (declining fitness) while on an extended profile."
With readiness remaining as one of the top priorities for the Army, the RPRT program will help to maintain high readiness levels at Fort Sill and teach Soldiers how to be proactive by staying healthy after an injury instead of reacting to, or aggravating existing injuries.
"We have had such incredible successes with our Forward Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy Clinic in the Advanced Individual Training brigades here that we wanted to expand another program to the field artillery and air defense artillery brigades as well," said Vestal. "We pitched the RPRT program to the Fires Center of Excellence command sergeant major as a way to support the FCoE vision for a healthier force and have received fantastic support from the Fires community."
The RPRT program is not the only initiative to promote health and fitness at Fort Sill. Vestal is also part of the Performance Enhancement Foundation Course (PEFC) which recently conducted a 40-hour comprehensive foundation training course for leaders at Fort Sill.
"The PEFC is part of the Army's holistic health and fitness program that aims to teach front line leaders principles of physical training and aspects of overall health to reduce physical injuries and increase readiness," Vestal said. "We want to try and combat the fitness myths that we as physical therapists see in the Army, and show leaders what right looks like so they can take that back to their units and promote healthy fitness habits."
The most recent RPRT course that Vestal taught had a large representation of drill sergeants from the 434th Field Artillery Brigade as well as many Soldiers from other installations who heard of the program.
"We want to enable everyone who takes this course to be able to take it back to their unit or home station and teach the techniques they learned here," said Vestal. "We do not have the monopoly on this program and want to be able to set a standard of practice across the entire Army to reduce injury and promote readiness."