LA CROSSE, Wis. ― Mayo Clinic Health System Sports Medicine will be working in collaboration with the La Crosse Fire Department to help improve the health and overall fitness of local firefighters. This is one of the first of its kind collaborations within western Wisconsin.
The program will focus on helping firefighters with their tactical performance training, improving mobility, strength, speed and endurance. The program also aims to reduce the amount of injury while on the job and improve firefighters' overall quality of health.
"One of the top priorities of the La Crosse Fire Department is the mental and physical health of our people," explains Fire Chief Jeffrey Schott, La Crosse Fire Department. "Quality fitness opportunities and individual fitness are the most fundamental needs of any firefighter's job. It is an absolute necessity to deliver the excellence service our community expects."
The program also will allow Sports Medicine staff, led by Andrew Jagim, Ph.D., and Jacob Erickson, M.D., to gathering research to better understand the demands of a firefighter’s job and how improvements in fitness translate to occupational performance standards.
"We are excited about this collaboration and mutually ready to dig into this research and performance training," says Dr. Erickson. "The firefighters put some of our staff through one of their courses in full fire gear. It was immediately apparent how strenuous their work is on the cardiovascular system. The more fit the firefighter is, the more efficient they are with their oxygen consumption — meaning they use less oxygen from their tanks. Therefore, our goal is to analyze their current programming. Then based on their data and our expertise, we'll develop a comprehensive fitness program that will allow them to breathe longer on their oxygen tanks. Which, one day, may make the difference in a life saved."
The Sports Medicine team is taking a "tactical athlete approach" to working with the firefighters. The occupational demands of a firefighter are in line with those of tactical athletes compared to other occupations and, therefore, require a specialized approach to their fitness and performance program. Through a movement-based performance program, there can be a focus on injury risk reduction while enhancing the ability of the firefighters to perform their duties at the highest levels.
Firefighters will take part in:
Fusionetics is an evidence-based technology-enabled performance health care system designed to test, score and create unique training programs for any active individual. It uses 2D motion capture and machine learning to assess human movement with pinpoint accuracy, and to quickly generate a comprehensive, detailed "Body MAP" and movement efficiency score. The Fusionetics movement screening is the process of analyzing movement tasks for the purpose of understanding how an individual uses their body. The movement strategies they adopt, are or will contribute to their physical performance or mechanisms of injury.
- Force plates
Force plates measure the so-called ground reaction forces exerted by the body during specific tasks. According to Newton's third law, this is the force that acts on a human body during a movement. At rest, the ground reaction force corresponds to the weight of the body, during movements, this force changes due to acceleration effects. Ground reaction forces are among the most commonly measured biomechanical parameters and help to characterize the movement patterns of a person and force-generating capabilities.
The Sports Medicine team will utilize specialized equipment to help quantify the physiological demands of the firefighters’ occupational performance testing. The information gathered will allow the research team to evaluate the relationships between fitness parameters and their performance on the air management course.
"This collaboration has so many unique aspects and benefits that we can't wait to get it fully up and running," adds Joel Luedke, Mayo Clinic Health System athletic trainer. "The research and data collection will have such a profound impact on how we are shaping the training program and will help us objectively measure the results we're looking for when it comes to reducing injury risk and helping the firefighters perform at their top level. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to serve those who serve us in the community."
"We are looking forward to helping our local firefighters to help improve their fitness and health," says Dr. Jagim. "On a larger scale, we are hoping to also make an impact across the firefighting community as a whole by advancing the research in this area and gain a better understanding of how to develop effective training programs for this population and quantify the physiological demands of the occupation."
"The goals and benefits of this program are limitless, and I love the potential it has to continue building an internal culture of strength and confidence to meet any challenge we face," adds Schott. "I expect the partnership Mayo Clinic Health System Sports Medicine will evolve into a game-changing perspective on firefighter performance and even serve as a model for departments nationwide."
# # #
Press ContactRick Thiesse