WRC Research

warrior research soldiers training
Warrior research is our mission and our passion. Our research focuses primarily on innovations that improve readiness through performance optimization, injury prevention, and training, as well as improvement of equipment and vehicles, and the human-machine interface. We also act as a testing lab for military gear and equipment, and assess current training protocols.

Publications of Interest>

Samples of Current Projects

Soldier Fueling Study: This project evaluates physical activity levels, energy expenditure, and supplementation for Soldiers during training.

darren-taking-blood soldier-fueling-line soldiers-fueling

I-PREP Study: Initial Entry Training Physical Resiliency Enhancement Program (I-PREP) was developed to reduce injury and improve Initial Entry Training Soldier success. The WRC was a part of a team that developed, implemented, and assessed I-PREP at Ft. Benning, GA. I-PREP was shown to decrease injury, while improving trainee fitness and graduation rates. These benefits would also result in significant savings in medical and recruitment costs as well as training time.


Tactical Athletes – Firefighters: The WRC is teaming up with the Tactical Athlete Research and Education Center from Indiana State University to investigate the impact of heat and exercise on functional movement and firefighter physiology. The project is taking place at Auburn University School of Kinesiology in the Thermal and Infrared Imaging Lab environmental chamber. The results could help us keep firefighters safer.

firefighter-in-chamber firefighter

Factors that Influence Spinal Health in Mounted and Dismounted Warfighters: A multi-phase, multi-year DOD project, it assesses the forces in mounted and dismounted Warfighters, as well as physiological changes, adaptations, and interventions for prevention.


Walking, Weight, Injury, and Program of Instruction Assessment: This year-long evaluation looks at factors thought to contribute to Soldier injury and assess how these vary between Basic Combat Training and Armor, Infantry, and Cavalry One Station Unit Training.


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Examples of Past Work

Mounted Dismounted Spinal Health Study: This study included three phases of Military vehicle testing, including Bradleys, M1A2 Abrams Tanks, Strykers, and Humvees. As part of an ongoing project, we assessed vibration and shock profiles of the vehicles in the field.

Effects of Vehicle-Ride Exposure on Cervical Pathology: A Meta-Analysis: A project in conjunction with the Warrior Athletic Training Program at Ft. Benning, GA, this study assessed injury epidemiology in different types of Army initial entry training (IET). We also developed and tested an injury prevention program.

man driving military vehicle

Soldier Training Heat Mitigation Study: This study, conducted in Auburn University School of Kinesiology’s Thermal and Infrared Imaging Lab environmental chamber assessed the effectiveness of a mist fan that was being used during field training to cool Soldiers. The results suggest that the cooling practice was ineffective in lowering core body temperature and may actually be putting Soldiers at risk.

heat-study-4 heat-study-3 heat-study-2 heat-study-1

Individualized Adaptive Technologies for Wounded Warriors: A collaborative project with Auburn University’s Center for Disability Research and Service – Assistive Technology and Innovation, along with industrial design graduate students. Our goal is to develop individualized adaptive technologies for wounded warriors.

Dr. Games showing prosthetic

Physiological and Anatomical Lower Extremity Effects of Long-Term Flight in Rotary-Winged Pilots: A multi-phase, multi-year DOD project assessed the cause of complaints of lower extremity issues in rotary-wing pilots.

conducting flight simulation

Tissue Changes During Operational Load Bearing in UH-60 Aircrew Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Prolonged Restricted Sitting Effects in UH-60 Helicopters

Local Pressure Application Effects on Discomfort, Temperature, and Limb Oxygenation

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Injury Prevention Work

Assessing Potential Pre-Habilitation Programs for the Military

Common fitness screen can predict injury and injury type in Army basic training, infantry, armor, and cavalry Trainees. Sefton J, Lohse K, McAdam J. J Ath Train. (In Press)

A Meta-Analysis to Determine if Lower Extremity Muscle Strengthening Should be Included in Military Knee-Overuse Injury-Prevention Programs. Kollock, RO; Andrews, C; et al. J Ath Train.

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Performance Optimization

Samples of prior projects

Effects of stance width on performance and postural stability in national-standard pistol shooters. Hawkins R; Sefton J. J Sport Sci. 2011. 29(13); 1381-1387.

A single Bout of whole-leg peristaltic pulse external pneumatic compression upregulates PGC-1 mRNA and endothelial nitric oxide synthase protein in human skeletal muscle tissue. Kephart W; Mobley B; Carlton D; et al. Exp Phys. 100(7), 852-864.

Six weeks of balance training improves sensorimotor function in individuals with chronic ankle instability. Sefton J, Yarar, C, Hicks-Little, et al. J Orth Sports Phys Therapy. 41(2), 81-89.

The effects of creatine loading on thermoregulation and intermittent spring exercise performance in a hot humid environment. Wright G, Grandjean P, Pascoe D. 2007. J Strength Cond Research. 21(3), 654-696.

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