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  • Writer's pictureDavid Kendrick

Carrying The Load

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

I served 5 years in the military as a Cavalry Scout. In my first week of basic training, I was assigned about 100lbs of gear along with my weapon. The gear consisted of various items most of which I would end up carrying on my back during long road marches. Basic training it meant to break a civilian down over a period of time to build them into a soldier. However, what it really does is breaks down the civilian to create a soldier whose body is even more broken.

I met many soldiers in the military who had all types of injuries. Training accidents, injuries from the war, sports injuries are all too common in the Army. Soldiers are more likely to incur orthopedic injuries than our civilian friends due to the physical demands of serving the country. We have people who jump out of perfectly good airplanes with about 50 pounds of gear on their backs. Just imagine the impact that has on the knees and ankles after a 20 year career.

I was severely injured within the first two years of my career. I was shot in both legs during an ambush. The bullet severed my femoral artery, shattered my femur, and caused severe nerve damage in my left foot. Thanks to my fast acting platoon I was able to keep my leg, but I lost the use of my left foot from my injuries. I spent two and a half years in physical therapy recovering from my injuries. While pursuing to stay in the military I created brand new injuries that I would soon be in physical therapy for.

In an attempt to prove that I could still be of service to the military I overcompensated by abusing my upper body. After thousands of pushups, overhead arm claps, and shoulder shrugs I developed quite the case of tendonitis in my left shoulder. I found myself once again in physical therapy conducting hours of friction therapy. However, 9 years after leaving the military and 12 years after my injury in Iraq I still attend physical therapy monthly.

So…we carry the load throughout our entire life. Soldiers feels little aches and pains that remind us of special events in our lives. A small shoulder pain may remind us of falling off a rappel tower, an ache in our knee may bring up the memory of falling off the back of a Humvee during a training exercise. Now we carry the load into our local physical therapy clinic. Our physical therapist help us lighten the load so living with an injury or small aches and pains is a little more manageable.

So carry on soldiers…carry on


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