Sex-specific differences in the impact of heavier body armour worn by law enforcement officers completing occupational tasks: a pilot study

P Buttner, S Tiller, N Vollenweider, Ben Schram, Elisa Fontenelle Dumans Canetti, Rob Marc Orr

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review

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Aim: to assess sex-specific impacts of heavier body armour in law enforcement officers completing occupational tasks.

Design: A randomized counter-balanced study.

Method: Ten qualified police officers of which six were female (mean height = 167.97 ± 3.67 cm, mean mass
= 65.30 ± 10.57 kg) and four were male (mean height = 82.15 ± 6.98 cm, mean weight = 85.55 ± 9.96 kg) completed a functional movement screen for mobility and three occupational tasks wearing a law enforcement (2.1 kg) or military (6.4 kg) body armour system. Following paired samples t-tests, effect sizes
(d) were calculated for the between-body armour type comparisons. Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee provided ethics approval (RO15803).

Results: When military body armour was worn, female officers experienced a greater impact on their car exit and victim drag (d = 0.37, 0.02 respectively) when compared to males (d = 0.12, -0.41 respectively).
Alternatively, male officers experienced a greater impact on their mobility and agility (d = -1.29, 0.57 respectively) when compared to females (d = -0.98, 0.31 respectively).

Conclusion: Wearing heavier body armour had a greater effect on female officers in the car exit and victim drag measures and on male officers in the functional movement screen and agility measures. The impacts of wearing heavier body armour should not be considered the same between the sexes.

Key Practice Points:
• Heavy body armour systems may impede the sexes differently warranting consideration when rehabilitating and reconditioning police officers to return-to-work following injury.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2023
EventAustralian Physiotherapy Association: INGNITE Physiotherapy Conference 2023 - Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 5 Oct 20237 Oct 2023


ConferenceAustralian Physiotherapy Association
Abbreviated titleINGNITE 2023
OtherWe have the chance to take physiotherapy to new levels and ignite the future of the profession through innovation and collaboration. Barriers can be broken down and communities connected.

Physiotherapists can look to the future and commit to excellence and equality, for themselves and the profession. Challenges can be made and met, passions ignited for what is possible.

We can evolve and explore the possibilities and make sure that physiotherapy comes out better than ever before.

By igniting your imagination, great things can be achieved!
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