BACKGROUND: Law enforcement cadets are subjected to physically demanding training, high-stress simulations, and exposure to traumatic scenarios during an academy. Neglecting aspects of recovery can result in severe consequences to their mental, physical, and occupational readiness. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the association between self-perceived recovery score (PRS) parameters and the relationship between the aggregate PRS versus the change in health and performance outcomes throughout a law enforcement training academy. METHODS: 52 law enforcement cadets (43 males, 15 females; Age: 26.2±6.4 yr) completed an online recovery survey each morning during the 11-week academy. Questions assessed perceived recovery via Likert scale (1=worst, 10=best) regarding sleep quality, stress level, soreness, and energy level. Health indicators (i.e., sleep duration, body mass, waist circumference, blood pressure) and performance tests (i.e., long jump, T-drill, push-ups, 500m row, 30:15 Intermittent Fitness Test) were conducted pre- and post-academy. The 4 recovery metrics were summed to create an aggregate daily PRS, which was averaged within cadets across the academy, and subsequently the sample’s global median value was used in the analysis. Spearman’s correlations assessed relationships between recovery and relative and absolute change in health and performance variables. Significance was set to p<0.05. RESULTS: Median PRS was 29.5 (interquartile range: 26.1-33.0) with recovery metric scores of 7 (IQR: 6-8) for sleep quality, 8 (IQR: 8-9) for soreness, 8 (IQR: 6.8-9) for stress, and 7 (IQR: 5-8) for energy. Lesser soreness was associated with greater energy levels (r=0.31, p<0.05), and lower stress (r=0.57, p<0.001). Better sleep quality was associated with greater perceived energy (r=0.84, p<0.001) and less stress (r=0.27, p<0.05). PRS and individual recovery subscales were not correlated to health or performance changes (p>0.05). Cadets averaged 6.96±0.60 hr of sleep per night. A positive correlation was observed between hours of sleep and PRS (r=0.28, p<0.05) and sleep quality (r=0.38, p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Although cadets perceived to have recovered adequately, they reported insufficient sleep duration (i.e., <7 hours per night). Training academies are encouraged to evaluate recovery metrics and implement feasible regeneration strategies to enhance health, safety, and performance.

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