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A descriptive physical profile of Western Australian male paramedics

Chapman, D., Peiffer, J.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-3331-1177, Abbiss, C.R. and Laursen, P.B. (2007) A descriptive physical profile of Western Australian male paramedics. Journal of Emergency Primary Health Care, 5 (1). Article 990218.

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Objectives: The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the physical characteristics of a group of West Australian male paramedics. Methods: Data was collected from conventional (CO) (n=18) and special operations (SO) (n=11) officers undergoing occupational performance evaluations as contracted by St. John Ambulance Australia to an external independent third party. Using a series of field-based physical conditioning tests, aerobic capacity (multistage shuttle run test), body composition (skinfolds), flexibility (sit-and-reach test), muscular strength (5 stage abdominal and grip strength), muscular endurance (sit-ups, push-ups and chin-ups in 60 seconds (s)), power (vertical jump height), and anaerobic capacity/agility using the Bangsbo agility test were examined. Results: The average predicted aerobic capacity of all officers was 45.8±5.2 ml·kg·min-1 (mean ± SD). Mean rating of abdominal strength was 4±1 and mean grip strength was 52±9 kg. The maximum number of sit-ups, push-ups and chin-ups performed in 60 s was 21±11, 40±12 and 7±5, respectively. Significantly more push-ups were completed for SO than for CO. Percentage body fat was significantly lower for SO than for CO. Fatigue index score (Bangsbo test) were significantly lower for SO than for CO. Conclusions: The physical fitness profile of our sample indicated above normal levels of aerobic capacity, local muscle endurance and muscle strength, which likely contributes to workplace performance competency. However the fitness profile highlighted a potential deficiency in anaerobic capacity. Paramedics may benefit from a physical conditioning program with emphasis on their ability to operate at a greater functional capacity for higher repeated near maximal efforts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Monash University Centre for Ambulance and Paramedic Studies
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