IMPACT OF PROTECTIVE GEAR ON LOWER BODY DYNAMIC BALANCE AND MOTOR CONTROL IN FIREFIGHTERS
Matthew Dohmeier, James Bernedo, Eva Janofsky, Mike Iosia. Lee University, Cleveland, TN.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to measure the impact of personal protective ensembles (PPE) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) on firefighters' lower body dynamic balance and motor control using the Y-Balance Test (YBT). METHODS: Fourteen firefighters (13 male and 1 female) from the local municipal fire department volunteered for the study. Lower body YBT composite reach scores were measured on both right and left sides, on three separate occasions wearing workout gear (PT), PPE, and PPE + SCBA (SCBA gear). Testing order was counterbalanced to mitigate the learning effect. Composite scores were normalized for limb length and reported as percentages. Paired T-Tests were run using IBM SPSS V25 to identify statistical differences at an alpha level of p ≤ 0.05. RESULTS: Statistical analysis of the YBT data showed there were significant differences between the right leg lower body composite score between PT and PPE gear (103.98 ± 7.53, 100.71 ± 6.68, p = 0.038, mean difference = 3.26%), PT and SCBA gear (103.98 ± 7.53, 96.39 ± 8.31, p = 0.001, mean difference = 7.59%), and PPE and SCBA gear (100.71 ± 6.68, 96.39 ± 8.31, p = 0.021, mean difference = 4.32%). There were also significant differences found in the left side lower body composite scores between PT and SCBA gear (105.42 ± 8.47, 97.50 ± 9.33, p = 0.004, mean difference = 7.92%) and PPE and SCBA gear (102.15 ± 7.64, 97.50 ± 9.33, p = 0.034, mean difference = 4.65%). No significant difference was found between left leg PT and PPE composite scores (105.42 ± 8.47, 102.15 ± 7.64, p = 0.054, mean difference = 3.27%). CONCLUSION: In a previous study by Games et al (2019), a decreases in composite scores of 5.52% on the right and 5.06% on the left was found. This study found decreases of 7.59% on the right and 7.92% on the left. Results suggest that the weight added by the PPE and PPE + SCBA negatively impacted reach scores. Average body mass with PT gear (PTWt.) was 89.25 ± 3.35 kg, PTWt. + PPE = 100.32 ± 3.35 kg; and PTWt. + SCBA = 113.11 ± 3.35 kg. Further research is needed to identify any changes in injury risk while training in full gear.
Dohmeier, M; Bernedo, J; Janofsky, E; and Iosia, M
"IMPACT OF PROTECTIVE GEAR ON LOWER BODY DYNAMIC BALANCE AND MOTOR CONTROL IN FIREFIGHTERS,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 16:
2, Article 326.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol16/iss2/326