The physical stress of recruit training in the U.S. military often leads to injuries and illnesses in all branches of service. While medics and corpsmen can treat most of these with no appreciable time lost from training, some injuries are more serious and take more time to heal. In these instances, several options are available to the military.
Some injuries require time to heal. This includes musculoskeletal injuries such as severe strains, sprains and broken bones. If a recruit is deemed unable to continue training with one of these injuries, they are sent to a rehabilitation platoon, where they are given physical therapy to help them recover from these injuries, limited training and motivation to continue their full recruit training.
Some injuries or illnesses may arise during training that require additional testing, civilian consultations and evaluation on a recruit's training potential. These include asthma, heart murmurs, hemophilia, diabetes and other similar medical conditions that might not have been ascertained in a pre-enlistment screening. Evaluation platoons serve many of the same functions as rehabilitation platoons --training and medical supervision -- but generally serve more as holding areas while the future of a recruit is decided.
Recruits whose injuries or medical conditions are too severe may be unable to continue training. In this case, they are given a medical separation. This informs future employers and recruiters that the recruit was separated from the military because of injury, and not through any fault of their actions. Although medical treatment may continue to be provided by the military, this separation ends the recruits contract.
If an injury is deemed recoverable following a stay in a rehabilitation or evaluation platoon, a recruit may be sent back to training upon recovery. Due to the length of time involved in most rehabilitation stays, recruits are unable to return to their previous training units, who have typically moved forward, if not completing recruit training altogether. Instead, recruits are recycled, joining training units that are in the same phase of training that they were when the injury occurred.