Reflecting on 2023

Posted: Dec 03, 2023

2023 has been another exciting and full year with the TRU being involved in research and special projects. Please enjoy reading about some of the highlights from this year.

Dr Rob Orr presented the TRU’s work on fitness and police use of force. The invited 90-minute session was presented to the Australian and New Zealand law enforcement and military police Operational Safety and Training managers at the Australian Institute of Police Management.  From this session the TRU have been requested by the OST chair to assist agencies in capturing the physicality of OST training and injury profiles to assist in the development of fitness standards.

Dr Elisa Canetti and Dr Rob Orr from the TRU were honoured to work with Dr Victoria Brazil and Dr Eve Purdy during their delivery of their TACTical (Teamwork And Collaborative Training) Squad Training program to emergency department staff from the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital. The first of four day sessions, the intent of the program is to improve teamwork in mission critical teams.

Dr Ben Schram, the TRU lead on injury profiling, was invited by ESSA to conduct a PD webinar for their members based on the findings from his Defence Health Foundation grant. With a focus on female soldiers, Dr Schram discussed injury rates, confounding factors, and risk factors for female soldiers and how they differ from males in some areas, but are similar in others. Implications for the Australian Defence Force and wider sports were highlighted with a focus of translation of research to practice.

Dr Rob Orr travelled back to Singapore to run the TRU’s Tactical Conditioning Optimisation Program (TACOPS) course. The 3-day course was presented to approximately 30 Singapore Army Physical Training Master and Senior Fitness Leaders, and Physiotherapists. The course finished with a 60 minute physical conditioning session following which Dr Orr was presented with a Master Fitness Leader (MFL) badge for his work with the Soldier Fitness Centre over the last 8 years. The MFL qualification is the Singapore Army equivalent to Dr Orr’s Australian Army qualification as an Advanced Course qualified, Physical Training Instructor. 


Dr Rob Orr was invited to present his research at the National Defence University in Finland. Following his talk to over 100 Finnish and Swedish senior staff and officer candidates, Rob was invited by the senior leadership to go mountain biking in the snow, participate in a traditional Finnish sauna, was hosted at the officer’s mess for dinner.

After hearing Dr Orr on the military MOPs & MOEs podcast, 2LT Kirsten Franka reached out to the TRU asking for assistance in preparing for the gruelling BAATAN  Memorial Death March; a 26 mile march through the through the high desert terrain of the White Sands Missile Range conducted in honour of heroic US service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II. Dr Orr helped redesign 2LTs Franka’s training program building on the evidence based research on military load carriage he had been conducting and refining at the TRU. Completing in the ‘Heavy Division’ (pack must weight a minimum of 35 pounds), 2LT Franka had the goal of finishing the gruelling event. Not only did SGT Franka finish the event ‘feeling great’ but she came 2nd in her age group and 5th overall in the Women’s Heavy Division; an outstanding feat and proof that evidence based training works.
The podcast can be found here.

Dr Rob Orr was invited to run a series of professional development sessions on physiotherapy treatment for tactical populations for the American Association of Sports Physical Therapists. Three one hour sessions were conducted on Tuesday evenings (US Time). These same sessions were presented to the New Zealand Occupational Health Physiotherapy Group late this year

The Tactical Research Unit from Bond University have just returned from spending time in Hobart with the Wilderness Paramedics from Ambulance Tasmania. The collaborative research will investigate and analyse key job tasks and fitness requirements of this specialist group of paramedics who often have to work in austere conditions and climates. Phase 1 of the research starts with their selection processes and will see the TRU team make multiple trips to collect data on Ambulance Paramedics undergoing their selection process for Wilderness Paramedics.

Check out the new-style feature story on the Tactical Research Unit - The research serving the people who serve for our communities.

Collaborating with the Tactical Research Unit, a group of six Doctor of Physiotherapy First Year students recently volunteered to provide support to the annual Police Rugby League Tri-series event. The event, held here on the Gold Coast, saw police officers from across Australia compete in a pseudo State of Origin competition with teams from Queensland, New South Wales, and a collaborative Other States. Having just completed their practical examinations in massage, the students provided recovery massages to 32 police team members in a two-hour block.



Dr Rob Orr was recently summoned to provide evidence as a professional witness at the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Watch now

Rob was joined by Professor Rodney Pope (a Bond Adjunct) and Dr Stephen Rudzki, AM. His evidence was around his lived experience in Defence as well as research on injuries, injury management and the role of physical training and injury surveillance. You can watch the video here.

TRU HDR Students

HDR student Nathan Andrews presented his underpinning work on training police in the use of force techniques at the Australian Institute of Police Management Operational Safety and Training managers conference. Nathan’s research is focussing on the differences in competency versus proficiency in police use of force skills training.

HDR student LT Joe Dulla (retired) was an invited speaker as part of a three-member team with Georgia Southern University’s Tactical Athlete Initiative at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (USA FBI) National Academy – Georgia State Chapter Conference as an SME on officer safety, wellness and health practices. Lt (rtd) Dulla’s research is investigating the safety, wellness and health requirements of LA Sheriff’s Deputy trainees.

HDR student Sandra Adiarte has been invited to speak at the Behavioural Analysis Conference in Prague. Sandra will be presenting on Laban Movement Analysis which forms part of her PhD investigating behaviour observation and threat assessment for police officers.