For a firefighter, stamina and strength are part of the job.
Well-equipped and fit, firefighters can carry anywhere from 40 to 70 extra pounds, and carrying that kind of weight while maintaining speed and intelligence can do a number of things to the body.
Heart disease is the leading cause of illness, and protecting their health is critical to both peak functioning and maintaining their wellness in their retirement years, said Dr. Jake Erickson, co-chair of sports medicine for the Mayo Clinic Health System among the firefighters.
“The firefighters put some of our staff into one of their courses in full firefighting gear. It immediately became clear how hard they work on the cardiovascular system,” said Erickson.
To promote and enhance both the unique and generic health practices necessary for the physically taxing job, the Mayo Sports Medicine team has been developing an analysis and training program over the past few years, which launched Wednesday morning at the La Crosse Fire Department.
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This collaboration is designed to help firefighters with tactical performance training, improve mobility and breathing efficiency, increase speed and reduce the risk of injury on the job, as well as improve their overall health.
“One of the highest priorities of the La Crosse Fire Department is the mental and physical health of our employees,” says Fire Chief Jeffrey Schott. “Good fitness opportunities and individual fitness are the most basic needs of any firefighter’s job. It is an absolute necessity to provide the outstanding service that our society expects.”
The higher the fitness level, the less oxygen the firefighter will rely on in the tank, says Erickson, and through the program, Mayo will analyze an individual’s current fitness routine and use this data, along with the Mayo team’s expertise, to develop a comprehensive system. exercise programme. Being able to breathe for longer, Erickson says, “may someday make a life-saving difference.”
It uses Fusionetics, an evidence-based, technology-backed performance healthcare system that tests, scores, and helps create a personalized training routine. Using 2D motion capture, the system can generate a motion efficiency score to determine how a person uses their body during exercise. Mayo experts can then provide strategies for implementation.
Strength plates are also used, which measure the ground reaction forces exerted by the body while performing a particular work.
Once data is collected and entered, the Mayo team will use specialized equipment to help determine the physiological requirements to test an individual’s occupational performance. The information will help sports medicine researchers in assessing the relationships between fitness and performance criteria.
“Research and data collection will have a profound impact on how the training program is shaped and will help us objectively measure the outcomes we have been looking for when it comes to reducing injury risk and helping firefighters perform at their peak levels,” says Joel Ludke, Mayo Athletic Coach. “This is a great opportunity for us to serve those who serve us in the community.”
With an app, firefighters will be able to keep track of their specialized gym routines and see where they can improve. For Erin Statz, who became a firefighter with the La Crosse Fire Department five years ago, the app provided a reminder to stretch and warm up properly, something firefighters tend not to stick to. It also helps prevent injury in an area where back problems are common.
“I’m excited about the opportunity we had, because not every fire department gets this,” Statz says of the program. “So I’m grateful for that.”
Schott believes the benefits are “limitless”.
“I love the possibilities you have to continue to build an internal culture of strength and confidence to meet whatever challenge we face,” Schott says. “I expect the partnership with (Mayo Sports Medicine) to evolve into a game-changing perspective on firefighter performance and even serve as a model for departments nationwide.”
“I love the potential you have to continue building an internal culture of strength and confidence to meet whatever challenge we face. I expect the partnership with (Mayo Sports Medicine) to evolve into a game-changing perspective on firefighter performance and even serve as a model for departments nationwide.”
Chief Firefighter Jeff Schott
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