SMART clinic provides vital treatment to injured Marines
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan -- The newly renovated Sports Medicine and Reconditioning Team clinic opened its doors Jan. 13 on Camp Hansen.
The clinic makes the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries less travel intensive for residents of Marine Corps installations located on the northern half of Okinawa.
“The SMART clinic represents a new approach to treatment aimed at taking care of musculoskeletal injuries more easily accessible,” said Col. Lance A. McDaniel, the commanding officer of 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “(The clinic) applies the same standards and practices available to professional sports teams to active-duty service members.”
A SMART clinic is intended to give the Marines and sailors the care and rehabilitation they require to make a full recovery before a problem becomes worse, according to McDaniel.
“The goal is early coordinated care from primary care providers, sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers and other related specialists, without the delays of the traditional problem, diagnosis, referral and consultation model of care,” said McDaniel.
The lifestyle of active-duty personnel is rigorous, and physical injuries may occur due to any number of activities, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Dan A. Aglibot, a corpsman with Headquarters Battery, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF.
“Marines get injured all the time from their strenuous (physical activity) and training, which makes an impact on a unit’s readiness,” said Aglibot. “By having a SMART clinic on Camp Hansen, it makes it easier to treat the injured Marines and get them back to full duty and have the unit operating at full strength sooner.”
When a Marine or sailor is sidelined due to injury, it may affect mission readiness and the ability of the Marine or sailor to complete the demanding tasks required of them, according to McDaniel.
“Injuries detract from combat readiness and the quality of life for our Marine athletes,” said McDaniel. “Like professional sports teams, we want our athletes to spend minimal time on the disabled list and to be ready on game day.”
The SMART clinic on Camp Hansen used to be open only a couple of days a week in the mornings, according to Aglibot. This increased the time an injured Marine or sailor would be away from their appointed place of duty should they need to travel to the Camp Foster clinic for treatment.
“By increasing our staff we are now able to be open all week, which helps alleviate scheduling and transportation issues,” said Aglibot.
The clinic and unit commanders believe that with physical health care readily available, more serious injuries can be avoided, according to McDaniel. The clinic is just another way to keep the Marines and sailors safe and healthy and the fighting forces strong.
“The end results are stronger and more resilient Marines, fewer lost training days, and higher combat readiness,” said McDaniel.