Story and photos by Sgt. Hillary Rustine
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Army’s new Physical Readiness Training, or PRT, program is a road map to physical readiness for various units throughout the Army.
But what happens when a Soldier can’t participate in the PRT because of an injury?
Some Soldiers need a helping hand to start on the road to recovery, and the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, “Cacti,” 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is lending that helping hand in the form of a PRT reconditioning program that offers more recovery time, tailored PT routines and more one-on-one time with physical therapists.
“This really started when we were walking outside for PT and (saw) all these Soldiers on profile having the same injuries reoccurring,” said 1st Lt. Brandy Gainsley, medical officer, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT. “We questioned how we could help these Soldiers to recover and realized we weren’t educating the injured to be the athlete Soldiers they need to be and how to maintain that level of fitness.”
Cacti is breaking up its wounded Soldiers according to their level of injury. Three sections — red, amber and green — are focusing on upper and lower body training.
The concept is to concentrate on strength training for the uninjured areas and mobility training for injured areas.
“The levels of progression, such as red and amber, help guide the groups all the way up to a walk-to-run group and reintegration into their original platoon,” said Capt. Brian Gray, physical therapy officer, 3rd BCT. “We need to urge the injured Soldier to a level of fitness that they were on before they were hurt and hopefully to a higher level.”
Along with building physical fitness, recovery time is key to cutting down on reoccurring injuries as it lets Soldiers and their injuries heal completely.
According to Gainsley, Soldiers aren’t pressured to do anything outside their profiles while they’re in recovery.
Even though the program is in its beginning stages, there is marked improvement with injuries. Out of the Soldiers who have been on a limited profile for many months, several are now preparing to rejoin their platoons soon, such as Spc. Adrian Najara, Company A, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT.
“I injured my knee on deployment about a year ago,” Najara said. “With this PT, there has been a great difference in range of motion, and I can actually run now.”
Najara hopes to reintegrate with his platoon by the end of the month.