'Tactical Athlete' Program Aims To Reduce Injuries, Maximize Performance
When a firefighter is injured, it’s critical they make a fast and thorough recovery before returning to duty. Not only does the community depend on a healthy workforce to perform heroic tasks at a moment’s notice, oftentimes physical injury can also take a psychological toll on the firefighter, who's sidelined as they recover.
There’s also a financial cost to the community when a firefighter is injured— in overtime costs, worker’s compensation, healthcare costs, and more.
The Madison Fire Department has partnered with the Tactical Athlete Health Performance Institute (TAHPI) to help reduce these costs while streamlining case management of injuries and providing customized rehabilitation to injured firefighters.
A major component of this brand new partnership is to educate the TAHPI providers about the daily physical demands firefighters face. That’s why, on a recent Sunday, MFD invited physical therapists, athletic trainers, and other local clinicians from UW Health and UnityPoint Health - Meriter over to the fire training ground at Madison College for “Healthcare Provider/Fire Ops Day.”
During Healthcare Provider/Fire Ops Day, these healthcare professionals traded their reflex hammers for pickaxes and got a taste of firefighting life!
Breaking into small groups and rotating through various stations, providers learned how to hook a hydrant, attack a fire, search for a 180-pound dummy and bring it to safety, and more.
These hands-on exercises gave helped providers understand the importance of a full recovery from injury, reinforcing the need to build customized rehabilitation that brings firefighters back to peak performance as quickly and effectively as possible.
“When I work in professional athletics, I would never send our quarterback to a doctor who’s never watched a football game before, so why would I send a firefighter or police officer to see a physician who’s never pulled hose or chopped with an ax or went up a ladder?” TAHPI CEO and founder Luis Rivera told WISC-TV in an interview.
Thanks to this innovative partnership, the MFD is able to offer a sustainable, efficient, evidence-based injury prevention and recovery program for all its members. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to provide the highest level of service to our community which depends on it every single day.