Two army conscripts are hospitalized after a scuffle during fitness training

The two Canadian Forces recruits are said to have undergone physical training that went beyond what was required.

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Two Canadian Forces recruits are in hospital amid allegations they underwent physical training that went beyond what was required.

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Retired and active military personnel told this newspaper that the recruits were hospitalized during their first week of basic military training at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB. They claim that physical fitness training borders on sadism.

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The two are being treated for dehydration and rhabdomyolysis, according to military sources.

Rhabdomyolysis is considered a serious medical condition and is caused by direct or indirect muscle damage. One of the causes of rhabdomyolysis is overexertion.

Canadian army spokeswoman Major Sandra Levesque confirmed the two recruits are in hospital. Neither the names nor the medical condition of the soldiers were released.

“The School of Infantry has begun an investigation at the unit level,” Levesque confirmed.

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The investigation will allow the Army to better understand the events that led to the soldiers being hospitalized.

“At this time, we are limited in the level of information we can share due to the investigation,” Levesque added.

The US military has raised concerns about rhabdomyolysis. In 2021, the US military had 513 cases of exertional rhabdomyolysis. The number of men under the age of 20 is the highest.

In a 2010 study, the US military noted that rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle cells that releases proteins and electrolytes into the blood. If left untreated, it can be fatal and lead to kidney failure, heart attack or stroke, the study noted.

In 2018, another US study noted that cases of exertional rhabdomyolysis were on the rise among US military personnel and high school and college athletes. An individual’s fitness level, sudden increases in exercise intensity or specific types of exercise can put a person at risk, adds the study, published in the journal Military Medicine.

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In 2000, rhabdomyolysis and severe leg muscle swelling ended the Canadian Forces career of a first-year Royal War College cadet who was hospitalized with kidney failure.

The cadet’s family alleges instructors at the Canadian Forces Recruit and Leadership School abused their authority and pushed the soldier and other recruits beyond their limits.

But a Canadian Forces board of inquiry blamed the soldier for his injuries, saying he overexerted himself.

An investigation by the Canadian Forces Ombudsman’s office later found that the board of inquiry did not receive expert medical evidence and misunderstood the medical information it received.

The Office of the Ombudsman also recommended that the Canadian Forces develop a formal system for tracking and reporting the evaluations of the training regime being conducted.

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The officer was kicked out of the Canadian Army because he had lifelong medical complications as a result of the incident.

The Canadian Forces are currently dealing with a recruitment crisis as fewer young Canadians are interested in joining the ranks. Military leaders have also acknowledged that the ongoing sexual misconduct crisis has hurt recruitment.

One recommendation presented to senior management is to move recruits through the system more quickly. The BMQ, or basic military training program, for prospective sergeant majors should be reduced from 10 weeks to eight weeks, it has been recommended.

In addition, Canada’s military is facing its highest attrition rate in 15 years and will need more than a decade to bring troop numbers back to required levels, according to a briefing prepared for Defense Chief Gen. Wayne Eyre and others senior leaders.

The briefing was leaked to this newspaper in October.

A lack of housing for military families and a failure to increase cost-of-living allowances also contributed to serving military personnel leaving the force.

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