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Collaborative Research Study Aims to Prevent Firefighter Injury Nationwide
Date:9/10/2009

e if a firefighter is able to complete the various components of the study. If he/she is cleared, a fitness test is then conducted by Athletes' Performance to gauge their current fitness level. During the fitness test, participants undergo a battery of physical tests that measure strength and power, a V02 test, which is a standard aerobic capacity evaluation that measures cardiovascular fitness, and a skin fold test to measure body composition.

After the fitness test, a biomechanical testing session is conducted in the Andrews-Paulos Research & Education Institute biomechanics lab. This session involves the monitoring of muscle and movement patterns during both general and simulated firefighting tasks.

After the biomechanical test is completed, the firefighters meet with a performance coach at Athletes' Performance Florida for twelve weeks. These training sessions are 90-minutes in length and occur three times a week throughout the duration of the training period. Once the twelve week training program is completed, the firefighters undergo another round of fitness and biomechanical testing for final data collection.

Although this work with the firefighters is just getting underway, University of Waterloo researchers, Athletes' Performance, and the Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute already have their sights set on developing and applying similar injury prevention strategies in military populations to maximize soldier readiness and retention.

"Firefighters and their families already understand the hazards of being on the job, whether it is rushing into a burning building or suffering from physical exhaustion and injury. That is why this research is so important - it could potentially save lives," says Dr. James Andrews, founder of the Andrews Institute and renowned orthopaedic surgeon. "If we are able to identify injury trends and suggest improvement for training modifications, this could hav
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