Leg power as an indicator for risk of injury or illness in police recruits
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Tactical trainees, like those entering the police force, are required to undergo vigorous training as part of their occupational preparation. This training has the potential to cause injuries. In addition, the physical training, communal living and pressures of tactical training are known to induce immune suppression and have the potential to increase the risk of illness. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between leg power, as measured by a vertical jump (VJ), and rates of reported injuries and illnesses during police recruit training. Retrospective data from recruits (n = 1021) undergoing basic police recruit training at an Australian Police Force College was collected. Recruits completed a VJ assessment at the commencement of their second state of training. Formally reported illness and injuries were collected 12 weeks later, following completion of training. Correlations between VJ height and rates of reported illness and injury were low (r = −0.16 and −0.09, respectively) but significant (p < 0.005), with VJ height accounting for 2.6% and 0.8% of the variance in illness and injury rates, respectively. In terms of relative risks, recruits with the lowest recorded VJ heights were more than three times as likely as those with highest VJ heights to suffer injury and/or illness. Police recruits with lower VJ height are at a significantly greater risk of suffering an injury or illness during police basic recruit training.
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