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H2F program is essential to soldier readiness

Madison Hiatt, a Holistic Health & Fitness certified athletic trainer, works with Pfc. Joseph Cifreo, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry, 1-2 SBCT, who suffered an orthopedic injury. Photo credit: Sgt. Laurie Wash, 1-2 SBCT, PAO

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One of Pfc. Joseph Cifreo's two big toes stopped working.

"I ruptured a tendon that controls movement in my left big toe during a Scout Spur Ride," explained the soldier assigned to 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division.

During the challenge, troopers faced a number of challenges which test teamwork and individual soldier skills, to include calling for fire missions, medical evacuations, working in a chemical hazard environment, and reacting to contact. Once these challenges are met, the soldiers must finish a night ruck march.

"During the ruck march, my foot wasn't working correctly."

Cifreo soon found himself at a sick call where he met Madison Hiatt, a Holistic Health & Fitness (H2F) certified athletic trainer assigned to the 1-2 SBCT.

"H2F makes a difference for our soldiers, and we are all very passionate about taking care of our soldiers," began Hiatt. 

H2F is a team designed to optimize soldier readiness, reduce injury rates, and improve rehabilitation after an injury in order to increase and maintain the overall readiness of soldiers.

"When I was applying to athletic training programs in college, I told them all that my goal was to work in a military setting," said Hiatt. And "when the job posting became available here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, I jumped on the opportunity."

After assessing Cifreo's condition, Hiatt referred him to the 1-14 Cavalry's physical therapist, Dr. Coy Judd, for additional medical attention. Once the injury was diagnosed, Judd immediately put in an imaging request for Cifreo to be seen by   the Madigan Army Medical Center's orthopedics department and scheduled for surgery on his toe.

"The H2F program's teams make a difference for our soldiers," added Hiatt. "They have quick access to help from a well-developed team of athletic trainers, therapists (occupational and physical), dietitians, cognitive performance specialists and strength and conditioning coaches."

After convalescence leave, and then while wearing a controlled ankle motion (CAM) walking boot, Cifreo began recovery physical therapy to promote healing and to keep him physically active.

"The entire H2F staff has put all their efforts and minds to the recovery of my tendon, while also keeping a check on my mental state and physical abilities in other areas," said Cifreo. "They treat the injury and the person as a whole; they are a dedicated team."

In praising the work of Hiatt and Judd, he also cited April Cannon, a physical therapist assistant, and Nate Wolch, a cognitive performance specialist for their efforts.

The team's biggest challenge has been to have Cifreo's surgical site activate his big toe. Hiatt pointed out that he is making progress by sticking with his rehabilitation and treatment programs and is making significant progress.

"So far, he's been winning the battle of being consistent with rehabilitation and treatments to return to duty," concluded Hiatt. "He is still in the process, but we have made significant strides."

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