Muscle damage, inflammation, and muscular performance following the physical abilities test in professional firefighters
Proper monitoring of fatigue, cardiovascular disease, and muscular damage may be used to decrease the high levels of cardiovascular disease, overuse musculoskeletal injuries, and workers compensation claims within the profession of firefighting. The purpose of this study was to examine muscle damage, muscular fatigue, and inflammation responses following a typical firefighting shift. Twenty-four professional firefighters completed two Physical Abilities Tests to standardize the tasks typically performed in a day of work and elicit similar physiological responses. These individuals were then monitored for 48hrs. Prior to and 48hrs following the PAT these individuals were evaluated for changes in strength, power, range of motion, as well as blood markers including myoglobin, TNF-α, and C-Reactive Protein. Following the PAT significant differences in myoglobin (p < 0.05), grip strength (p < 0.05), vertical jump (p < 0.05), and sit-and-reach (p < 0.05) were observed. No differences in TNF-α or C-Reactive Protein were observed (p > 0.05). Twenty-four hours following a shift firefighter still show decreased levels of strength, power, and range of motion. This may lead to decreases in performance and an increased risk of injury.