Jackson B. Miller1, Sarah N. Lanham1, Jamal L. Thruston1, Stuart Best1, Lance Bollinger1, Nick Heebner1, Emily L. Langford2, Lauren T. Higginbotham2, Vanessa Santos3, Luis Monteiro4, Mark G. Abel1. 1University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. 2University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL. 3Higher Institute of Police Sciences and Internal Security, Lisbon, Portugal. 4Lusofona University, Lisbon, Portugal.

BACKGROUND: Sufficient analytical processing and timely decision-making during high-stress situations are critical in performing fireground and emergency tasks safely and effectively. Research indicates that performing training operations decreases firefighters’ visual declarative memory and induces working memory impairments. Firefighters are encouraged to perform on-duty exercise to enhance occupational readiness, however, the potential deleterious effect on cognitive function is unknown if responding to an emergency immediately after exercise. Therefore the purpose of this study is to determine the effect of exercise-induced fatigue on cognitive function in firefighters. METHODS: A convenience sample of 20 apparently healthy career structural firefighters (Age: 18-55 yr) will be recruited to participate in the study. Inclusion criteria include performing ≥2 resistance training sessions per week for the past 3 months. Participants will attend 3 testing sessions separated by a minimum of 72 hours. During session #1 participants will perform the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test, 5 and 10 repetition maximum (RM) strength assessments (bench press, bent-over row, shoulder press, deadlift, step-up) and cognitive ability assessments focused on sustained attention (Sustained Attention to Response Tasks exam) and cognitive function (paired associates learning and spatial span tests). Sessions #2 and #3 will be randomized, where participants will complete heavy resistance training (5RM loads, 2 min passive recovery) and circuit training (10RM loads, 45 s passive recovery) protocols. Cognitive acuity and muscular force outcomes (via isometric mid thigh pull) will be assessed prior to each exercise session and 10 min post-exercise to simulate an emergency response time. Repeated measures ANOVA (Time x Training Intervention) will be used to compare cognitive performance outcomes over time and between interventions. The level of significance will be set at p<0.05. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: We hypothesize that heavy resistance and circuit training modalities will produce physical fatigue, demonstrated by reduced muscular force outcomes, and reduce cognitive function in firefighters.

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