Alyssa Q. Eastman, Nick R. Heebner, Phillip A. Gribble, Beth S. Rous, Emily L. Langford, Spencer Brock, Rosie K. Lanphere, Mark G. Abel. University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

BACKGROUND: Firefighting involves the performance of rigorous occupational tasks in unpredictable, dynamic, a8nd hot environments which increases firefighters’ risk of injury. Specifically, the National Fire Protection Association reported that musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries account for 56% of non-fireground and 41% of fireground injuries. Furthermore, physical training (PT) is the most common cause of injury, accounting for one-third of all injuries and resulting in 41% of post-injury absences from work. There is limited research identifying occupational injury risk factors among firefighters. However, health care professionals (HCPs) working with fire departments may be able to provide critical insight into the potential mechanisms of these common injuries. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to query HCPs working directly with firefighters to identify potential mechanisms and risk factors associated with MSK injuries during PT and other tasks based on their specific clinical experiences. METHODS: A phenomenological design will be implemented to understand the experiences of HCPs when treating MSK injuries in firefighters. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted virtually with twelve HCPs. Inclusion criteria include licensed HCPs (e.g., Athletic Trainer, Physical Therapist), who have at least three years of experience in treating and rehabilitating firefighter injuries. Two interviews will be pilot tested with HCPs to ensure reliability and validity. Ten interviews will be used in data analyses. Interviews will be transcribed and uploaded to Dedoose (SocioCultural Research Consultants, LLC), a qualitative analysis software program. To ensure reliability and validity of codes and categories, two researchers will code to a level of agreement of at least 90%. Member checking will be used to ensure the accuracy of findings with HCPs responses. IBM SPSS (Version 28, Armonk, NY) will be used for descriptive statistics. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: It is hypothesized that HCPs will indicate that MSK injuries occur primarily during PT, while performing intense yet infrequent occupational operations, and as a result of compromised movement patterns. These findings will provide key focus areas for future longitudinal studies to identify risk factors. Funding: Currently under review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Fire Prevention and Safety grant mechanism.

This document is currently not available here.