Year of Award
Master of Athletic Training (MAT)
Health and Human Performance (Athletic Training Program Option)
Department or School/College
Department of Health and Human Performance
Dr. Valerie Moody
Dr. Charles Palmer, Dr. Joseph Domitrovich
fireline, injury, wildland firefighter, physical training, wildfire
University of Montana
Objective: To develop a better understanding of the types of injuries Wildland Firefighters (WLFFs) sustain during Physical Training (PT) and while out on the fire line, and if there are any discernible trends or patterns that can be addressed through the implementation of a more focused PT program.
Methods: This study is a web-based cross-sectional questionnaire titled Injury Surveillance of Wildland Firefighters (ISWLFF). We utilized a snowball sampling technique to reach seasonal and fulltime WLFFs of the US Forest Service. 360 WLFFs responded to the questionnaire, but were not required to answer every question. While 112 of the respondents did not report an injury in the past 5 years, 248 WLFFs did. Of the 248 participants whose injury data was utilized, there were 218 males, 29 females and 1 identified as other. Quantitative data from the questionnaire was analyzed using Microsoft Excel to determine WLFFs demographics, types of injuries sustained and the potential influence environmental factors have on injuries sustained. Thematic analysis was conducted on open-ended questions where WLFFs could offer further explanation to a closed ended question.
Results: Most WLFFs (n=248) sustained at least one injury in the past 5 fire seasons with 91% (n=226) of those injuries occurring on the fireline on rocky mountainside terrain. Nearly half (n=209) of the injuries reported were sprains and strains occurring to the lower back, knee and ankle. 76% of injuries reported by WLFFs (n=343/453) directly impacted their ability to continue with normal duty.
Conclusions: Most of the injuries reported by WLFFs were to the lower extremity and occurred while working on the fireline. Therefore, a more targeted, job-specific injury prevention program that focuses on the lower extremity should be considered.
Purchio, Taylor, "Descriptive Analysis of Injuries Sustained by Wildland Firefighters" (2017). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11059.
© Copyright 2017 Taylor Purchio