$2.1 Million Navy SEAL Project Announced

$2.1 Million Navy SEAL Project Announced

Program Created To Reduce Injuries And Aid Training

The United States Navy SEAL's are participating in a brand new $2.1 million dollar project with UPMC Sports Medicine, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Rehabilitation and Health it was announced on Wednesday.

It is a new program that is being designed to benefit the individuals that are assigned to Navy SEAL teams, to help them with their physical training, to make them more productive and to reduce injury.

The purpose of the program is to reduce injury, and to help the Navy SEALs learn to exercise better, with training and fitness program that is tailored more to their specific requirements.

"Much of our training culture with our Navy SEAL members is to push to the absolute limit, and then push more," said Lieutenant David Lucket. Lt. Lucket is spokesman with the public affairs office of the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Group Two.


The new lab will be located on the Navy Seal facility in Little Creek, Virginia. It will be staffed and ran by Dr. Lephart, and his staff from the University of Pittsburgh Sports Medicine program. The purpose of the new facility on the SEAL base is to help teach and train SEALS so they can train more effectively, train longer, and reduce the incidence of injuries and stress related physical trauma.

"These SEALs are the elite athletic warrior, they are guys that like to run, run, run, and they lift weights a great deal," said Dr. Lephart. Many of the type of injuries that SEAL team members suffer from come from overuse. "These are the toughest of the tough, and they don't always know when to quit." Said Dr. Lephart.

The new clinic and lab will be tailored to help SEAL commandos get more results from the training that they do participate in, and to try and reduce the number of injuries that they suffer. "We have always operated on the code that the most important Navy Special Warfare Weapon is the SEAL operator himself," said Captain Chaz Heron.

Captain Heron is the leader and commander of the Special Warfare Group Two, at the U.S. Navy SEAL base. "We are looking to give the physical advantage to my men in every way possible, to improve upon our success rate on operations and on the battlefield, we want to have every single advantage possible," said Heron.

Dr. Scott Lephart is internationally known for his sports medicine and athletic Neuromuscular Research into sports training and performance. He is the head of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Research and Neuromuscular program Laboratory.

This is where many of the elite and top rank athletes from around the world have come for advice and training programs since the early 1990's. The New lab on the SEAL base in Little Creek, Virginia near Norfolk is based on the successful UPMC facility located south side in Pittsburgh.

The new facility will sport state of the Art equipment including physiological and biomechanical instruments, physiology equipment and instruments that can measure body fat, stress levels, and monitor individual muscles and physical performance.

Dr. Lephart will be jointed by Greg Hovey and Anthony Zimmer, an exercise physiologist and certified athletic trainer, respectively. They have years of experience in the UPMC style and program routine, and are looking forward to working with the members of the SEAL teams to help improve their overall physical performance and reduce injuries.

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The United States military across its Armed Services has kept much of the same type of training and physical PT training over the last several decades. Group runs, as well at morning PT exercises where everyone participates in ranks has been the standard for decades. While this has been successful and helped the United States military be second to none, it also is a one size fits all type of approach.

The tasks that a gymnast is required to do differs from what a racket ball player has to endure, and the professional baseball player has to face different physical challenges than someone who plays tennis. In the same way, the needs and physical requirements that face a SEAL team member are different than others that serve in the Military.

The team headed by Dr. Lephart will work on all aspects of the SEAL team physical training, to help identify issues and find solutions where the SEAL team member can perform certain tasks more efficiently, with less stress on the body. "Air Assault soldiers have different things they do, from what SEAL team members have to perform. Just like we vary the needs of a program for the type of the athlete, we have to vary the program for the needs of SEAL team members," said Dr. Lephart.

Dr. Lephart has participated in programs with the military before, notably at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne and the Special Forces Operation Aviation detachment. The UPMC staff headed by Dr. Lephart established a sports medicine clinic at Fort Campbell in early summer, May 2007 last year. Based on early returns, the program has been very successful in assisting soldiers at Fort Campbell with their own physical program and health needs.

Many times personnel in the Military have poor dietary habits, the Team led by Dr. Lephart will also help with nutrition and diet information. "What time you decide to drink and eat is just as important for your body as what you choose to eat and drink," said Dr. Lephart.

"It's important for muscles to have replenishment inside of 30 minutes with glucose," said Dr. Lephart. One of the ideas that were mentioned by Dr. Lephart is to consider instituting a team training table like is done on many college and professional sports teams.

The Navy came and sought out Dr. Lephart for his assistance. "Even the very preliminary data from the new program shows great promise for us," said Major General Jeffrey Schloesser. General Schloesser is the commanding General of the 101st Airborne, and is very pleased with the program that Dr. Lephart instituted at Fort Campbell.

Because of the successes they observed Dr. Lephart was having with the Army, the Navy SEAL team leaders went to Dr. Lephart and asked him for his help. Dr. Lephart is internationally known and has largely wrote the book on modern sports medicine and nutritional and sports therapy medicine.

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"Dr Lephart and his staff are known around the world for their successful work with world class elite athletes, our Navy SEALS are the toughest of the tough, we wanted to get the best for them to make their performance and endurance even better," said Lieutenant Luckett.

The six-month training that the Navy SEAL has to undergo before being assigned to a unit is intense, and long known to be the toughest training in the entire U.S. Military. "We know that when the members arrive at first duty stations as SEAL they are sometimes arriving pretty bruised and broken," said Dr. Lephart.

"We want to help U.S. Navy Seal Training be productive, and to train smart, and more effectively, and reduce injuries at the same time. Sometimes this means knowing when to quit and let your body repair," said Dr. Lephart.