On Nov. 5, Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Fort Stewart and Georgia National Guard leaders to provide soldier injury prevention training through the University’s Soldier Athlete Human Performance Program (SAHPO).

Implementing a train-the-trainer model, Georgia Southern Doctor of Physical Therapy students will provide education designed to prevent and reduce injuries to select soldiers, who will then take information back to their units.

“These partnerships have been part of our tradition with the Eagle Battalion,” Marrero said.

“I’m so proud of the fact that our public research agenda, specifically around holistic wellness and fitness and this project, the Tactical Athlete Program, aligns with the needs of our community.”

Injuries are the leading cause for military hospitalizations, and result in the most lost workdays, greatly affecting troop readiness. 

“We believe that the train-the-trainer program will have an incredible impact,” he continued. “And not just for our Doctor of Physical Therapy students and their training, but also to have certified training within the military itself. For us, it’s a win-win. I’m so excited about this.”

The Pentagon recently announced that the U.S. is currently facing its largest recruitment challenge in 50 years, with a potential deficit of up to 21,000 active-duty troops in 2023.

“We believe that signing this MOA will assist with preventing injuries and result in increased rates of retaining soldiers,” said George Fredrick, director of Georgia Southern’s Military and Veteran Services. “In the current operating environment, there is the need for the Army and academic institutions to build collaborative engagements with full-fledged partnerships. Today, the agreement between Georgia Southern University, the Georgia National Guard and Fort Stewart seeks to share knowledge and concepts to reduce injury and subsequently create readiness of our soldiers.” 

For more information on SAHPO, visit: https://chp.georgiasouthern.edu/tactical-athlete-initiative/military-initiatives/soldier-athlete-human-performance-sahpo-program/.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers approximately 140 different degree programs serving nearly 26,000 students through 10 colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.