TRAZER Military Readiness and Medical Rehabilitation System
The need to be ready to respond rapidly and appropriately, deploying a fit and trained force where and when needed, is the singular most important mission of the Nation’s military. The TRAZER system supports military readiness and medical rehabilitation to ensure Service members are medically and physically prepared to support their mission when called upon. TRAZER’s ability to objectively quantify human health and performance using skeletal tracking allows it to measure whole body reaction time, acceleration, deceleration, speed, vertical leap and heart rate (through telemetry) within 1/100th of a second or within 3mm or 1/8th of an inch of movement. These measurement constructs, and ability to compare and contrast with previous activities, allow researchers to determine environmental impacts on combat capabilities.
The Services spends millions of dollars each year to support recruitment and retention of the force to meet Congressionally-mandated end strength requirements. Each year, Service members are identified as having physical limitations that result in either separation or being placed in a non-deployable status. Conversely, many military entrants hide an injury to facilitate entry into the military or to allow attendance to military schooling or deploy with their units. The TRAZER system ensures personnel entering the military, attending schools or deploying are medically fit and meet the physical standards established for the Service, the school or the deployment mission.
Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS)
Purpose: TRAZER can be used at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) throughout the United States as part of the physical assessment portion of applicant processing. Each applicant would receive a baseline assessment using the TRAZER system, to determine balance and evaluate deviations or asymmetries in a person’s movement, tracking 25 specific points on the body. Each assessment is objective and would determine if an applicant was “hiding” an injury (purposefully or not), to facilitate entry into the military. If the applicant meets standards, it would provide a physical baseline, which could be used for comparative analysis as the applicant continues his or her military career.
Outcome: First, TRAZER would potentially save millions in lost training dollars. Identifying personnel at the MEPS with physical limitations prevents the applicant from shipping to Initial Entry Training (IET). By doing so, another applicant who meets the physical requirements could ship. This would maximize utilization of allocated training seats and reduce the cost of shipping, medically discharging, and returning an applicant who may have had an unknown injury or physical issue that would disqualify him or her from service. The system would also provide a baseline assessment of the physical condition of the individual, which is subsequently used to assess physical improvements based on training programs or degradation due to other factors of military service, training or deployment. It also provides a metric as a starting point, which will enable medical personnel to better gauge rehabilitation efforts and progress and eventual return to duty.
Initial Entry Training (IET) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT)
Purpose: As the military looks for new ways to measure and enhance training, it relies on industry to bring cutting-edged solutions to enhance the physical capabilities of the Armed Forces through a virtual environment. TRAZER offers that solution. By determining a baseline assessment during accession, the Services can conduct a more thorough assessment of the physical capabilities of the individual. The enhanced baseline assessment would measure a person’s response time, speed, balance, cardiorespiratory function, and neurocognitive / nueromuscular capability. Reacting to unplanned stimuli and cognitive awareness provide a starting point, or baseline, prior to training. It also establishes the baseline for medical purposes and rehabilitation in the event of injury.
Outcome: Using TRAZER during IET and AIT enhances readiness and facilitates return to duty, in the event of an injury. TRAZER also has applications that can be used to enhance agility, strength and reaction time, as part of a comprehensive physical fitness program. The system records the data for each individual using unique identifiers, allowing comparative analysis as training progresses. The collection of the data can be reviewed individually, or as part of data sets to evaluate the efficiency of training programs. Since the system is based on a virtual gaming platform, Service members are more likely to use this tool in their off-hours to compete against the system itself or against others in their training unit. The likely outcome would be a more physically ready and agile force as they depart training and report to their first duty station.
Purpose: Sustaining readiness for pre/post deployment activity into-and-out of high threat regions of the globe is a way of life for the Armed Forces. Currently, the Services evaluate Service member readiness for deployment utilizing a variety of factors. From a medical perspective, this includes a review of immunizations, physical profiles/duty limitations, vision, hearing, labs, dental, personal deployment meds, physical health assessment (PHA), individual medical equipment (IME), and pregnancy screening. The advantage of TRAZER in elevating Service member readiness is its ability to discover unknown neurocognitive and musculoskeletal indications, which may be present but have not been diagnosed since the Service members’ last PHA. TRAZER can be a critical tool in validating the combat warfighters ability to engage hostile forces by confirming they truly are “fit to fight”! Additionally, when a unit returns home from deployment, the same discovery processes can be repeated to ensure Service members haven’t experienced neurocognitive or musculoskeletal injuries which have degraded their medical readiness.
Outcome: The ability of TRAZER to take a Service members’ readiness for deployment to the next level provides Commanders with a vital tool to ensure deploying units are at the highest state of readiness to execute their missions. Commanders will be provided a real-time readiness picture of their units, both for the individual Service member, and the units as a whole. Unit morale will rise as each deploying member will depart with the confidence that every team member can support the assigned mission. Further, upon return, having an awareness of post-deployment Service member capabilities enables care providers to develop individualized rehabilitation plans to overcome any degradation which may have occurred during the deployment. Finally, having a pre-deployment baseline provides health care providers a starting point for rehabilitation by definitively knowing the health and capability of the Service member prior to his/her injury. Rehabilitation would go from subjective to objective, providing a recovery point for rehabilitation.
Military Course Prerequisites
Purpose: Throughout the course of a service members’ career, they routinely attend training courses that have established fitness requirements. Service members are often approved to attend this training on a cursory approval of past fitness status. Unfortunately, many of these courses experience a higher than average attrition rate when it’s learned the service member doesn’t meet the standards. For example, the Navy SEAL program experiences its highest attrition during the Initial Recruit Training School and Phase 1 of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course. Both courses have intense physical fitness demands. Many of the Service Members applying for high profile schools, Airborne, Ranger, SF, SEAL, etc., may feel they have recovered from a training injury when they have not. Their desire to attend these schools is great, and most feel they are fully physically capable when an underlying condition may be present. In schools with rigorous strength, agility, and endurance requirements, having a baselined TRAZER standard for school attendance can be invaluable to ensure the right candidates are approved to attend.
Outcome: When military leaders can dramatically reduce high attrition rates across a host of training programs, millions of dollars in cost avoidance can be achieved by ensuring only qualified candidates attend these schools. Service member careers can be managed to ensure success as opposed to the career risk associated with school failure. TRAZER can indeed play a key role in strategic allocation of scarce human capital resources, facilitate reduced training costs, and ensure billets don’t go unfilled due to physical degradation of the applicant.
Fitness, Strength and Agility Training
Purpose: Service members of each Branch are required to perform physical fitness testing, which requires elements of speed, agility, and strength. These assessments are typically accomplished by a unit member who is serving as a fitness instructor for the unit. TRAZER can improve upon the human interaction element of assessing service member fitness. It eliminates subjectivity. Once standards have been established, TRAZER has the capability to measure those standards within 1/100 of a foot. In other words, TRAZER can virtually eliminate subjectivity in military physical fitness assessment programs and improve physical capability in the areas of reaction time, speed, acceleration, deceleration, vertical leap and endurance.
Outcome: Incorporating TRAZER’s technology allows the Services to establish programmatic consistency and enables data collection initiatives which can identify improvement opportunities across the force. Additionally, the impact of eliminating subjectivity in evaluating military physical fitness readiness provides an impartial and objective means of improving the overall readiness of military members, and mitigates risk of injury.
Purpose: The military utilizes a numerous pieces of equipment for various functions based on an individual’s occupation and mission. Equipment needs could be anything from personal protective equipment to five gallon water jugs. TRAZER can objectively measure the effect of the equipment’s weight and placement on an individual by using the Compare Report. The Compare Report will provide information related to reaction time, acceleration, deceleration, speed and heart rate. Information is measured within 1/100th of a foot or second, as applicable.
Outcome: By utilizing TRAZER to objectively analyze the impact of the weight and placement of equipment, leaders can determine the best placement of equipment to assess overall impact in relation to fatigue, comfort and capability. In addition, the Vector Report will provide information of the symmetrical movement of an individual while wearing the equipment to determine the impact on reaction time, speed, acceleration and deceleration. Equipment can be placed on an individual and provide objective, rather than subjective, information that would not only increase capability, but survivability on the battlefield.
Recurring and Separation Physicals
Purpose: All Branches utilize the Periodic Health Assessment as a tool to evaluate service member medical readiness. The assessment includes the following areas: Service member self-reported health status, measurement and documentation of vitals (height, weight, BP), vision screening, review of current medical conditions with healthcare provider, focused exam of identified conditions (as required), cardiovascular screening program services (as required), recommendations for improvement of identified health conditions, and a behavioral health screen. TRAZER can improve these periodic examination opportunities through its objective evaluation of neurocognitive and musculoskeletal health, as well as cardiovascular fitness.
Outcome: Discovery of hidden indicators by TRAZER can assist health care providers in validating diagnoses requiring further medical interventions. Early intervention and treatment of readiness disqualifying medical factors accelerates Service member return to full capability and minimizes organizational readiness limitations. In the case of separation physicals, claims for VA compensation can be evaluated objectively, and at a faster pace, reducing the time spent on disability claim processing.
VA Claims Processing
Purpose: According to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), in 2001, the number of veterans receiving service-connected disability compensation was 2.6 million. Fast-forward to 2014 and the latest census report compiled with the American Community Survey declares 3.8 million veterans are receiving service-connected disability compensation. These facts bear out a 46% increase in the number of disability claims. They also establish a need for an efficient and accurate disability evaluation system. From a neurocognitive and musculoskeletal aspect, TRAZER can elevate the validity of medical care provider assessments. This is especially important when 55% of most common service-connected disabilities fall into these areas.
Outcome: Increased accuracy of Service member claims underpins both support of veterans and fiscal stewardship of VA disability resources. Establishing baseline TRAZER standards which are consistent with VA disability ratings eliminates subjective medical evaluations and sets the stage for efficient administration of VA disability claims processing. This decreases the time spent processing claims and facilitates appropriate compensation based on the Service member’s claims, including PTSD.