Physical Exertion Diminishes Static and Dynamic Balance in Firefighters

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
Kenneth E. Games PhD, LAT, ATC * , 1 , Zachary K. Winkelmann PhD, SCAT, ATC * , 2 and Lindsey E. Eberman PhD, LAT, ATC * , 1
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  • 1 Indiana State University
  • 2 University of South Carolina
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Half of all work-related injuries in the fire service are musculoskeletal-based due to slips, trips, and overexertion. This study evaluated the effects of physical exertion on balance in firefighters. Forty-one firefighters completed a physical exertion protocol with static and dynamic balance assessments while in personal protective equipment. Following the physical exertion protocol, we identified a significant decrease in anterior reach of the right limb, and significant increases in rectangular displacement area in both double- and single-legged stances. Balance is diminished in firefighters wearing personal protective equipment after engaging in a short bout of physical activity, suggesting a potential risk factor for lower extremity injury in the fire service.

Games and Eberman are with the Neuromechanics, Interventions, and Continuing Education Research (NICER) Laboratory, Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN, USA. Winkelmann is with the Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA.

Winkelmann (winkelz@mailbox.sc.edu) is corresponding author.
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