Dealing with injuries is a fact of life at Officer Candidates School. For some people, injuries come out of neglect, while other injuries are freak accidents or simply bad luck. Regardless of the circumstances, here are four tips to better your chances of staying healthy at Marine OCS and avoiding injuries. Let’s get started:
Be in good shape when you get to OCS: Occasionally there are candidates who are not in peak physical condition when they arrive at OCS. For whatever reason, these men or women slacked off in the gym after being accepted and it shows when they arrive. Don’t show up to Officer Candidates School excepting to get in better shape! Show up in the best shape of your life and hope to maintain that physical condition. By showing up out of shape, you’ll have to push yourself harder just to keep up with the rest of the candidates and expose yourself to injuries (shin splints, stress factures) that many other candidates won’t have to deal with.
STRETCH!: Stretching is a key component in avoiding running injuries before, during and after Officer Candidates School. Injuries to the IT Band are common for candidates due to the high amount of running and those injuries can usually be prevented by stretching after lights out at OCS. When everyone else is marking gear after lights out, writing letters home, etc, make sure to take 5-10 minutes before hitting the rack to stretch your muscles out. Losing 5-10 minutes of sleep is better than going home from OCS because of an injury. Here is a video below of a great IT Band stretch using a foam roller.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Hydration is the key to life in Officer Candidates School. Quantico, Virginia is blazing hot and HUMID during the summer months of training and if you don’t hydrate properly, you’ll pay for it. There are plenty of candidates who become “heat casualties” especially during the ruck marches. Not only is dropping out of a ruck march due to lack of hydration embarrassing, you also get the silver bullet (a rectal thermometer) from a Corpsman. Don’t get the silver bullet, be intelligent, drink water and hydrate to the best of your ability.
Take care of your feet: I really can’t stress this enough. A lot of candidates simply ignore foot problems and blisters because they underestimate the severity. I wrote a whole post on how to take care of your feet at Marine OCS that is definitely worth a read. Don’t be the candidate limping around for weeks at a time because they didn’t take care of a blister and it turned into a nasty infection! You (speed) walk everywhere you go at OCS, so don’t let a tiny foot problem creep up on you and knock you out from training.
There you have it, four tips to prevent injuries at Marine Officer Candidates School. While you can’t prevent every injury, be sure to take every precaution to keep healthy. You’ve worked far too hard to let an undeserved injury hold you back from your dream of becoming an officer in the United States Marine Corps.