Using Fitness Measures to aid in the Return to Work of Injured Sheriff’s Deputies

Rob Marc Orr, Jay Dawes, Robert G. Lockie, Ben Schram, Will Brown, Joseph Dulla

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review

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Background: Law enforcement officers are required to perform physical tasks as part of their occupational duties. These tasks, which can include chasing and wrestling with offenders in unpredictable situations, can lead to a variety of injuries. Return-to-work programs need to progress to a level that can return an officer to these task requirements, yet progression within this training must be structured so as not to reinjure the officer.
Purpose: To investigate relationships between general fitness assessments and specific law enforcement occupational assessments in order to inform return-to-work planning for injured Sheriff's deputy law enforcement officers.
Methods: Retrospective data were collected from 91 male (age= 41.69±7.17 years: height = 178.28±6.77 cm: mass=95.17±16.95 kg) and 6 female (age= 42.50±7.12 years: height = 169.55±6.51 cm: mass=82.35±18.11 kg) US Sheriff deputies attending patrol school. The deputies completed general fitness measures of muscular power (vertical jump [VJ]: 20 yard sprint [20SP]), muscular endurance (maximum push-ups (1PU) and sit-ups (1SU) in 1-min), strength (hand grip strength [GS]: leg/back dynamometer pull [LBPull]), and established simulated occupational assessment tasks (2.2 m fence jump; 8.5 m victim drag, and a get-up task). Person's correlations were run to determine the relationships between the fitness and occupational measures with alpha set at 0.05 a priori. The Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee approved this archival data study.
Results: The power and speed measures (VJ and 20SP) exhibited the strongest relationships to all occupational tasks; fence jump (VJ r=-.609, 20SP r=.556), victim drag (VJ r=-.522, 20SP r=.657), and get-up (VJ r=-.609, 20SP r=.539). This was followed by the muscular endurance (1PU and 1SU) measures; fence jump (1PU r=-.408, 1SU r=-.477), victim drag (1PU r=-.396, 1 SU -.392), and get-up (1PU r=-.414, 1SU -.545). The strength measures (GS and LBPull) were only related to the victim drag (GS r=-.352, LBPull r=-.328) and get-up (GS r=-.247, LBPull r=-.203).
Conclusion(s): The results from this study indicated that general fitness measures were related to occupation-specific assessments in Sheriff's deputies, although the strength of the relationship varied. Improvements in measures of lower body muscular power (e.g. jumping), speed (e.g. sprinting), and upper-body and abdominals muscular endurance may help prepare injured law enforcement officers for more arduous occupational tasks as part of their return-to-work programming. Of note, these general fitness measures may provide an indication of physical readiness to begin more advanced occupationally specific assessment tasks for injured law enforcement officers.
Implications: General fitness measures of muscular power, speed and muscular endurance may be of use in early return-to-work rehabilitation to guide preparedness to undertake more workplace-specific tasks in Sheriff deputies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2019
EventWorld Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress 2019: WCPT 2019 - Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 10 May 201913 May 2019


ConferenceWorld Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress 2019
Abbreviated titleWCPT2019
Internet address


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