Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 9200

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. ICPOL, Higher Institute of Police Sciences and Internal Security, 1300-663 Lisbon, Portugal
2. University Center Lisbon, Lusófona University, 1749-024 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: talent identification in sports; physical fitness standards for emergency response occupations

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Guest Editor
1. Exercise and Health Laboratory, CIPER, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Cruz-Quebrada, Portugal
2. KinesioLab, Research Unit in Human Movement Analysis, Instituto Piaget, 2805-059 Almada, Portugal
Interests: clinical exercise; cardiac rehabilitation; primary and secondary prevention; health promotion; tactical fitness and performance

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. ICPOL Research Center, Higher Institute of Police Sciences and Internal Security, Lisbon, Portugal
2. CIDEFES, Lusófona University, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: biomotor abilities; strength and conditioning; tactical fitness and performance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to provide critical reviews and original research for a Special Issue on the occupational health and physical fitness of Tactical Populations.

Tactical athletes (e.g., law enforcement, military, firefighters) perform some of the most physically demanding jobs in our society and require an appropriate level of fitness as well as specific technical and tactical skills to achieve short- and long-term objectives and eliminate various threats. Although these professions have unique job duties and workplace exposures, tactical athletes have many things in common. A tactical athlete's occupation requires them to be physically prepared for the unknown in order to protect the public. These physically demanding occupational tasks performed by tactical personnel require a high level of cardiovascular fitness as well as muscular strength and endurance. Poor performance in these areas increases the risk of injury and can result in mission failure, loss of life, or an offender evading apprehension. Efforts should be made to base health and fitness assessments on occupational demands unique to both the environment and the requirements of each individual tactical unit.

This Special Issue aims to increase emphasis on the development of evidence-based physical training, strategies to maintain and improve occupational and physical performance, and health implications to reduce the risk of injury and illness in these populations.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Occupational tasks;
  • Fitness standards;
  • Physical fitness and task performance;
  • Health and well-being of the tactical population;
  • Testing and evaluation of tactical conditioning.

I/We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Luís Miguel Massuça
Dr. Vanessa Santos
Dr. Luís Monteiro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biomotor abilities
  • firefighter
  • first responders
  • health
  • law enforcement
  • military
  • occupational health
  • occupational tasks
  • physical fitness
  • police
  • task performance

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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9 pages, 242 KiB  
Article
Climbing the Ranks: A Study of Firefighter Health Disparities
by McKenzie M. Hare, Kealey J. Wohlgemuth, Alex Jesko, Michael J. Conner, Vanessa Frost-Piedrahita and Jacob A. Mota
Healthcare 2024, 12(2), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12020227 - 16 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1124
Abstract
The fire service command structure encompasses recruit, incumbent firefighter, and officer positions. The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect of rank (recruits, incumbent firefighters, and officers) on health and physical ability characteristics within the fire service. Retrospective data from thirty-seven [...] Read more.
The fire service command structure encompasses recruit, incumbent firefighter, and officer positions. The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect of rank (recruits, incumbent firefighters, and officers) on health and physical ability characteristics within the fire service. Retrospective data from thirty-seven recruits (age = 29 ± 5 yrs, BMI = 26.5 ± 2.3 kg/m2); eighty-two incumbent firefighters (age = 30 ± 7 yrs, BMI = 28.8 ± 4.3 kg/m2); and forty-one officers (age = 41 ± 6 yrs, BMI = 28.6 ± 4.3 kg/m2) from a single department were used. Participants completed body composition tests (i.e., body fat percentage [%BF] and body mass index [BMI]), an air consumption test (ACT), and cardiopulmonary exercise testing. The ACT consisted of 10 standardized tasks. Five separate one-way analyses of co-variance (ANCOVA) were calculated, accounting for age. Partial eta squared statistics were calculated and Bonferroni-corrected post-hoc analyses were employed. The results demonstrated a significant effect of rank on %BF (F = 9.61, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.10); BMI (F = 3.45, p = 0.02, η2 = 0.05); relative VO2MAX (F = 12.52, p < 0.001; η2 = 0.11); and HRMAX (F = 18.89, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.03), but not on ACT time (F = 0.71, p = 0.55, η2 = 0.01). These outcomes suggest there are variations in anthropometric and physiological metrics of health across firefighter ranks. Administrators should be aware how these markers of health may vary across firefighter ranks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population)
12 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Psychophysiological Responses in Soldiers during Close Combat: Implications for Occupational Health and Fitness in Tactical Populations
by Maria Stergiou, José Juan Robles-Pérez, Jorge Rey-Mota, José Francisco Tornero-Aguilera and Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez
Healthcare 2024, 12(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12010082 - 29 Dec 2023
Viewed by 2071
Abstract
This study explores the psychophysiological responses and subjective exertion experiences of soldiers in simulated hand-to-hand combat, aligning these findings with established physiological benchmarks. Active military personnel were monitored for heart rate, blood lactate levels, subjective exertion, cortical arousal, and muscle strength during combat [...] Read more.
This study explores the psychophysiological responses and subjective exertion experiences of soldiers in simulated hand-to-hand combat, aligning these findings with established physiological benchmarks. Active military personnel were monitored for heart rate, blood lactate levels, subjective exertion, cortical arousal, and muscle strength during combat scenarios. The results showed significant increases in heart rate and blood lactate, indicating intense cardiovascular demands and a reliance on anaerobic energy systems. Contrary to these physiological changes, soldiers reported lower levels of exertion, suggesting a possible underestimation of physical effort or individual differences in perception and mental resilience to stress. Notably, a decrease in cortical arousal post-combat was observed, potentially signaling cognitive function deficits in decision-making and information processing in high-stress environments. This decline was more pronounced than typically seen in other high-stress situations, highlighting the unique cognitive demands of hand-to-hand combat. Additionally, an increase in muscle strength was noted, underscoring the physiological adaptations arising from intensive combat training. These findings provide valuable insights into the psychophysiological effects of hand-to-hand combat, emphasizing the complex interplay between physical exertion, cognitive function, and stress response in military contexts. The study underscores the need for comprehensive training strategies that address both physical and psychological aspects to enhance combat readiness and decision-making under stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population)
9 pages, 276 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Acute Arterial Responses Following a Rescue Simulation and Maximal Exercise in Professional Firefighters
by Vanessa Santos, Luís Miguel Massuça, Luís Monteiro, Vítor Angarten, Mark G. Abel, Bo Fernhall and Helena Santa-Clara
Healthcare 2023, 11(7), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11071032 - 04 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Cardiovascular events are the leading cause of on-duty deaths among firefighters. Screening firefighters for risk of sudden cardiac event is a critical element of a comprehensive medical program. Although intense physical exertion has been shown to trigger sudden cardiac events in the general [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular events are the leading cause of on-duty deaths among firefighters. Screening firefighters for risk of sudden cardiac event is a critical element of a comprehensive medical program. Although intense physical exertion has been shown to trigger sudden cardiac events in the general population, it is unclear how hemodynamic responses following clinical exercise testing compare to that of performing firefighting tasks in personal protective equipment. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare hemodynamic responses following rescue simulation (RS) and maximal exercise in firefighters. This was a cross-over repeated measures study. Thirty-eight professional firefighters (31.8 ± 5.2 yr; VO2peak: 57.9 mL/kg/min) completed a maximal aerobic exercise test (MAET) and an RS. Pulse wave velocity (PWV), pulse pressure (PP), and brachial and central mean arterial pressure (MAP) were measured before and 5 and 15 min post-exercise. The findings indicated that femoral PWV decreased after MAET and RS at both time points (p < 0.005). No significant differences were found in aortic and carotid PWV over time or between conditions (p ≥ 0.05). Significant increases in brachial and central PP and MAP were noted 5 min post-MAET and RS (p = 0.004). In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that peripheral arterial stiffness (AS) decreased in firefighters following both conditions, with no differences in central AS. Our findings provide valuable information on hemodynamic responses similar between RS and MAET, and are important for controlling CVD risk and the AS response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population)

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15 pages, 967 KiB  
Systematic Review
Incidence and Risk Factors for Acute Articular Cartilage Tears in Military and Other Occupational Settings: A Systematic Review
by Kristy Robson, Rodney Pope and Robin Orr
Healthcare 2024, 12(5), 595; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12050595 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 783
Abstract
Damage to the articular cartilage resulting in an acute tear can lead to functional changes within the joint and increase the risk of osteoarthritis developing. There is limited understanding of the association between occupational risk factors and sustaining an acute articular cartilage tear [...] Read more.
Damage to the articular cartilage resulting in an acute tear can lead to functional changes within the joint and increase the risk of osteoarthritis developing. There is limited understanding of the association between occupational risk factors and sustaining an acute articular cartilage tear in the military and other physically demanding occupations. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to identify and evaluate original research reporting on occupational risk factors associated with sustaining acute articular cartilage tears. Methods: A systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis—Protocols was conducted and registered with the Open Science Framework. Key academic databases were searched using terms from the following concepts: risk or cause, paid occupations, and acute articular cartilage tears. Results: Of an initial 941 studies, 2 studies met the eligibility criteria, both reporting data from military contexts; only one evaluated acute articular cartilage tears in both males and females. One paper focused on articular cartilage injury within the knee and the other within the ankle joint with incidence rates being 0.2 and 0.3 per 1000 person-years, respectively. People in more physically active occupations and individuals with an above-normal body mass index were reported as being at higher risk of sustaining an acute articular cartilage tear. Conclusion: Physically demanding occupations, such as the military, may increase the risk for acute tears of the articular cartilage. However, the findings of this review indicate there is a paucity of research to underpin understanding of the injury mechanisms and occupational risk factors for acute articular cartilage tears. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population)
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5 pages, 211 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Rasteiro et al. Physical Training Programs for Tactical Populations: Brief Systematic Review. Healthcare 2023, 11, 967
by André Rasteiro, Vanessa Santos and Luís Miguel Massuça
Healthcare 2023, 11(18), 2470; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11182470 - 05 Sep 2023
Viewed by 356
Abstract
In the original publication [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population)
24 pages, 2854 KiB  
Systematic Review
Establishing Reference Data for Fitness Assessment of Law Enforcement Officers Using a Qualitative Systematic Review
by Luís Miguel Massuça, Vanessa Santos and Luís Monteiro
Healthcare 2023, 11(9), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11091253 - 27 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Physical fitness tests are a standard means of evaluating the competence of police officers. This qualitative review aims (i) to document, compare, and examine the reference values available in the current literature regarding fitness tests for Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs), and (ii) to [...] Read more.
Physical fitness tests are a standard means of evaluating the competence of police officers. This qualitative review aims (i) to document, compare, and examine the reference values available in the current literature regarding fitness tests for Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs), and (ii) to define reference values for the most used fitness tests to assess and predict police officer performance. A total of 1879 records were collected for review from two major literature databases, PubMed and ScienceDirect. After applying our exclusion criteria, a total of 19 studies were considered. All studies demonstrated acceptable methodological quality in fitness assessment, and the most used components were muscle strength, muscular endurance, muscle power, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, flexibility, and agility. This review provides (i) a methodological definition for the physical fitness assessment that helps select the most used fitness tests, (ii) a standardised methodology for establishing reference data for fitness tests appropriate for LEOs; and (iii) aggregate reference values for selected fitness tests. This may improve selection and retention procedures, considering that this group performs its duties in an environment and under conditions that differ from those of other occupational groups. Complementarily, this qualitative review also provides a foundation for developing effective interventions to improve each aspect of fitness testing for police officers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population)
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23 pages, 1150 KiB  
Systematic Review
Physical Training Programs for Tactical Populations: Brief Systematic Review
by André Rasteiro, Vanessa Santos and Luís Miguel Massuça
Healthcare 2023, 11(7), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11070967 - 28 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1772 | Correction
Abstract
This review aims (i) to identify and analyze the physical training programs used for tactical personnel (TP) and (ii) to understand the effects of physical training programs on the health and fitness, and occupational performance of tactical personnel. A literature search used the [...] Read more.
This review aims (i) to identify and analyze the physical training programs used for tactical personnel (TP) and (ii) to understand the effects of physical training programs on the health and fitness, and occupational performance of tactical personnel. A literature search used the keywords ‘Physical Training Program’, ‘Police’, ‘Law Enforcement’, and ‘Firefighter’. A total of 23 studies out of 11.508 analyzed were included. All studies showed acceptable methodological quality in assessing physical fitness (PF), and training programs’ effect sizes (Cohen’s d) on PF attributes were calculated. The results showed that physical training programs (duration > four weeks) can improve (medium-to-large effects) (i) measures of physical fitness and (ii) performance in simulations of occupationally specific tasks. This review provides summary information (i) to help select (or adjust) physical training programs for TP and (ii) to clarify the effect of different occupational-specific training interventions on fitness measures and health-related parameters for TP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Physical Fitness of Tactical Population)
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