The U.S. Army on Friday released new guidelines for injured soldiers on permanent profile to follow when they take an altered version of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) next year.
Training officials just completed a yearlong field test of the new six-event ACFT, which is scheduled to replace the current, three-event Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) in October 2020. Part of the field test involved refining a version of the ACFT for soldiers with long-term injuries.
Soldiers with permanent profiles "undergo a Medical Retention Board and Physical Evaluation Boards to determine fitness for further military duty," officials said in May. Part of those reviews may be tied to the soldier's ability to pass a modified assessment, they added.
Soldiers taking the modified ACFT, or alternate assessment, must be cleared by their medical provider, according to a short Army video released Friday.
"They have to take as many ACFT events as possible within the confines of their profile," Megan Reed, a spokeswoman for the Army's Center for Initial Military Training, told Military.com.
"But they have to at least ... do the strength dead lift, the sprint-drag-carry and one of four alternative aerobic events."
Soldiers can complete either the ACFT's two-mile run, a 5,000-meter row, a 15,000-meter stationary bike ride or a 1,200-meter swim.
If using a rowing machine or stationary bike for one of the alternate events, "the soldier may pause briefly, to rest, adjust the resistance, grip or seat position," according to the Army video.
"Soldiers should not rest for more than 30 seconds at any point, to keep the machine odometer from resetting to zero, resulting in an event failure," the video states.
Soldiers will receive more points the faster they complete the row, bike or swim, according to the video, which added that "point scales are currently being developed."
The ACFT was designed to develop explosive power and speed for increased combat readiness, but the new assessment will also help reduce overuse injuries, Whitfield East, CIMT research physiologist, said in an Army news release.
"Overuse injuries have been a tremendous problem in the Army, with a significant number attributed to musculoskeletal injuries," he said. "As we increase strength and reduce the number of repetitions [with the ACFT], we should see some concomitant decrease in injuries."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.