Influence of wearing ballistic vests on physical performance of Danish police officers: A cross-over study

Tidsskriftartikel - 2021

Resume

Purpose: We aimed to investigate the influence of wearing a ballistic vest on physical performance in police officers. Methods: We performed a cross-over study to investigate the influence of wearing a ballistic vest on reaction and response time, lumbar muscle endurance and police vehicle entry and exit times. Reaction and response time was based on a perturbation setup where the officers’ pelvises were fixed and EMG of lumbar and abdominal muscles was recorded. We used a modified Biering–Sørensen test to assess the lumbar muscle endurance and measured duration of entry and exit maneuvers in a variety of standard-issue police cars. Results: There was a significant difference of 24% in the lumbar muscle endurance test (no vest: 151 s vs. vest: 117 s), and the police officers experienced higher physical fatigue after the test when wearing a vest. Furthermore, officers took longer to both enter and exit police cars when wearing a vest (range: 0.24–0.56 s) depending on the model of the vehicle. There were no significant differences in reaction and response times between the test conditions (with/without vest). Discussion and Conclusion: Wearing of a ballistic vest significantly influenced the speed of movement in entry and exit of police cars and lumbar muscle endurance, although it does not seem to affect reaction or response times. The ballistic vest seems to impair performance of tasks that require maximal effort, which calls for better designs of such vests.

Reference

Koblauch H, Zebis MK, Jacobsen MH, Haraldsson BT, Klinge KP, Alkjær T, Bencke J, Andersen LL. Influence of wearing ballistic vests on physical performance of Danish police officers: A cross-over study. Sensors 2021;21(5):1795.
doi: 10.3390/s21051795

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