ATs Win Research Award to Fund Air Force Project

December 7, 2015 by Todd Christman

Two University of the Incarnate Word athletic trainers, Dr. Shandra Esparza and Dr. Reid Fisher have successfully been awarded a Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) Intramural Research Award  to fund a project titled:  "Athletic Trainer Integration in U.S. Air Force Basic Training: Reducing Injury and Related Costs”. This is a 30 month, $970,000 project that will embed two certified athletic trainers with in an Air Force Squadron of 1,200 Trainee Airmen at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

The project hopes to prove efficacy for a larger Air Force initiative planned to eventually employ significantly more certified athletic trainers.

These athletic trainers will provide coverage to more basic trainee squadrons and others within the Air Force.

The Air Force has established a program entitled the Versatile Injury Prevention and Embedded Reconditioning or VIPER. This research initiative is imperative to provide evidence for full funding from the government and sustainability of the VIPER initiative.

The award will also establish a research agenda and a freestanding athletic training room within the squadron as well as educate Independent Duty Medical Technicians (IDMTs) to provide better care within their scope. Activities such as gait analysis and modification will be the focus in order to reduce stress related injuries which currently plague Air Force trainees, adding significant time and cost to training. Outcomes hope to show decreased rate of injury and time out of training.