TRU Update: June 2022
California State University
Dr Rob Orr was recently invited back to teach a session for the California State University, Fullerton - a Kinesiology subject, Measurement Techniques in Strength and Conditioning. The session focused on the use of occupational fitness testing for tactical personnel. Following the session last year, one of the attending students decided to complete their honours research in fitness testing for police officers and is now applying to complete a PHD in the same field.
Development work with Elbit Systems Australia
Continuing their support for Elbit Systems Australia's Commonwealth bid for the LAND125-4 contract, the TRU conducted primary protocol development work with two Australian Army soldiers from Elbit. The protocols form part of the Commonwealth’s FITEX (fitment exercise) and LDA (limited dynamic assessment) where the current solider load carriage ensemble will be compared to an enhanced capability variant inclusive of different radio systems, helmet mounted cameras, digital battle management systems and rifle ancillaries.
First TRU PhD
Congratulations to Dr Danny Maupin, for our first Tactical Research Unit PhD awarded. Dr Maupin's PhD topic is Optimising Training Load and its Relationship to Injury Risk and Fitness in a Tactical Population. Please visit Dr Maupin’s profile on our website for more information relating to the project.
Dr Maupin’s PhD will be the first of many TRU PhD’s awarded. We have a number of exciting projects currently underway with some exceptional PhD candidates. You can browse more information relating to each of the below projects under the ‘Higher Degree Research Students’ heading of the TRU Staff page of the website.
1. Jeremy Robinson: Identifying and optimising neuromuscular strength and power measures for Law Enforcement candidates.
2. Nathan Andrews: Can competence achievability in law enforcement firearms training be defined and predicted.
3. Darren Corea: The effects of a Virtual Reality based intervention on Chronic pain and anxiety in Veterans.
4. Kate Lyons: Musculoskeletal Injuries in Military Basic Training: Does Changing the Training Program Change the Injury Profile?
5. Graham Marvin: The relationship between sleep, training load, fatigue, and injury rate in emergency service workers.
6. Mark Stephenson: Tactical performance under stress.
7. Sandra Adiarte: Eyes on the Target: Assessing and Training Tactical Personnel in Threat Assessment via Structured Behaviour Observation.
8. Joseph Dulla: Optimizing the Training Outcomes of Law Enforcement Recruits and Through Provision of an Evidence-based Physical Training Approach.
9. Dustin Kidd: A Comparison of Overt and Covert Body Armour.
10. Shane Irving: Occupational task and conditioning analysis in operational members of the Australian and New Zealand Police Tactical Groups.
11. Jeremy Robinson: Identifying and optimising neuromuscular strength and power measures for Law Enforcement candidates.
12. Michael Stierli: Can workplace reconditioning improve the return to duty status and outcomes of the injured Police officer?
13. Colin Tomes: Heart Rate Variability as a Human Performance Optimization Tool for the Tactical Professional.
14. Whitney Tramel: Subjective and objective measures of stress during activities related to tactical operator performance.
15. Robert Walsh: The benefits of extended reality (XR) simulation and training in the area of weapon draw time for the tactical response police services sector.
TRU Update: May 2022
Men's Health Magazine
Dr Rob Orr was an invited panellist for a special event held by Men’s Health magazine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which saw mentees from the Men’s Health Mentorship program talk to mentors in various fields. Dr Orr was invited to provide guidance on entering and working in the field of tactical strength and conditioning and shared his experiences as an Australian Army physical training instructor.
Welcome HDR student - Whitney Tramel
Whitney's research Examining objective and subjective measures of physiological stress in tactical personnel in stressful environments and tasks will focus on identifying and employing means of monitoring physiological stress measures faced by tactical operators in order to ensure their optimal performance in unpredictable and austere environments.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Dr Rob Orr recently delivered a series of invited speaker presentations to Division Fitness Coordinators from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The presentations formed part of the 2nd Annual DFC Tactical Training Virtual Workshop with attendees from F,G,H,L & K divisions situated across Canada. The presentations were on ‘building resilience into the lower legs’ and ‘building resilience into the lower back’, with the primary intent of helping Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers mitigate injuries to their two leading sites of injury as well as optimising their return to work following injury.
Doctor of Physiotherapy mini congress
Doctor of Physiotherapy students undertaking their two research subjects recently presented their work at a mini congress. Four groups of students completed a systematic review and original research to inform the tactical field. Two studies looked at specialist duties and injury risks comparing injuries sustained by general duties police to police dog squad officers or police highway patrol officers. One study compared differences in fitness between two specialist police groups, and another study compared the differences in body armour impacts between men and women. Of this work, one paper has already been submitted (a literature review on occupational driving injuries) and another study has been filmed to feedback to Australian Defence Apparel and will also form part of an upcoming microcredential. The e-posters for the literature reviews can be found here.
Research with Bond's Translational Simulation Collaborative
The TRU recently undertook another round of research with fellow Faculty Research Centre, the Translational Simulation Collaborative. Working with Dr Victoria Brazil, the TRU collected objective measures of stress in Emergency Department staff undertaking high-level and high-stress simulation events. The intent of the research is to validate high-stress simulations to assist in the training of mission-critical teams.
Australian Defence Apparel's occupational footwear
Dr Rob Orr recently caught up with Travis Sawers, the National Business Development Manager for Australian Defence Apparel, to film two videos on occupational footwear. The videos were requested by the Occupational Health and Safety Body Of Knowledge and will be hosted on their website as well as the TRU website. The TRU would like to acknowledge and thank Ben Griggs for all his work behind the scenes to help produce these videos which can be viewed here and here.
Elbit Systems Australia (ELSA)
The TRU recently hosted a team from Elbit Systems Australia (ELSA) at the Bond Institute of Health and Sport (BIHS). ELSA staff from around Australia, including their Chief Engineer and Project Engineering Manager talked about research capability and the TRU's support to the Australian Army’s LAND 125-4 project. The ELSA team particularly praised the ability of the High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) to test soldiers at altitude, in different thermal environments and even equipment buoyancy potential for water borne operations. Following the meeting’s success, the TRU were funded to aid in building ELSA Human System Integration research protocols.
TRU 2021 Annual Report
As they all seem to be, 2021 was a busy year for the TRU.
Over the 2021 period the TRU:
- Published 28 journal articles, with one of those published in conjunction with a PhD student and 8 published in conjunction with Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPHTY) and Nutrition and Dietetics students.
- Produced 20 Technical Reports for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (x 16), NSW Police Force (x 2), Steel Blue footwear (x 1) and the Defence Health Foundation (x 1).
- Disseminated research by several other outputs including radio interviews, magazine articles, informative blogs, and industry podcasts.
The 2021 Annual Report gives in depth insight into what the team has dedicated their time to in 2021, and outlines their amazing achievements.
The team has put together this 2021 Infographic as a summary of the Tactical Research Units 2021 successes.
DPHTY Student Tactical Research Projects
The Tactical Research Unit works closely with DPhty students at Bond University, educating and mentoring the students on their research projects.
Recent posters produced by students can be found below:
TRU Conflict of Interest Approach
For all research that involves an industry product, whether initiated by the industry or government organisation, the Tactical Research Unit uses a multi layered research integrity process. We typically develop a firm understanding between all involved that the Technical Reports we produce must be
politically, commercially, and personality free and built on pure evidence-based science. For more information, read our Conflict of Interest Approach.
TRU News Update: DEC 21
Welcome HDR student | Jeremy Robinson
The TRU recently welcomed HDR student, coach Jeremy Robinson. Jeremy is the only full-time, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Australia / New Zealand's Counter Terrorism Committee, where he works with the highly-skilled Police Tactical Groups. With extensive experience in policing, physically conditioning specialist police, and as a former NRL strength and conditioning coach, Jeremy will be investigating ways to optimise the selection and training of specialist police tactical group personnel.
Welcome HDR student | Nathan Andrews
Meet TRU's HDR student, Nathan Andrews. His research - Can competence achievability in Law Enforcement firearms training and assessment be defined and predicted, will examine key elements of law enforcement use of force training and assessing, including the methodology used by law enforcement organisations to determine the appropriate use of force standards used to determine member competency.
California State University (Fullerton) Kinesiology Class Roundtable
Dr Rob Orr was an invited panellist discussing fitness and occupational testing. The session was presented to senior undergraduate and graduate students completing a kinesiology degree at California State University, Fullerton. Joining fellow panellists, Dr Jay Dawes (Oklahoma State University) and Matthew Moreno (US Marines Corps, CAMP Pendleton), Dr Rob Orr discussed how fitness testing varies across different occupational groups, why fitness testing is conducted, and how it differs from testing athletes.
Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) Conference
This year the SMA Conference went remote with post-doctoral research fellow Dr Patrick Campbell presenting some side project work being undertaken by the TRU. Patrick presented on The variability of estimated VO2Max derived from 20m shuttle run scores in Australian law enforcement recruits: implications for occupational standards and Changes in Australian law enforcement recruits’ aerobic fitness, and the development of normative data following academy training. Both sessions were well-received and form part of a larger body of work assisting state police services to optimise their aerobic fitness assessments.
Partnership with LEGEAR
The TRU team teamed up with Jason Semple, the General Manager from LEGEAR, a division of Australian Defence Apparel (ADA), to further finetune future research which will be investigating the thermal impacts of law enforcement body armour on police officers. The research, which is scheduled to be undertaken early next year, is part of ongoing work to assist ADA with their research and development into police body armour – notably for agencies working in hotter climates.
Peer reviewed journal articles:
- Hernandez, E., Dawes, J., Dulla, J., Orr, R., Lockie, R. (2021). Fitness percentile rank data for female law enforcement recruits in the USA. Facta Universitatis 19(1): 109-118. DOI: 10.22190/FUPES210609014H
- Dawes, J., Lentine, T., Johnson, Q., Lockie, R., Orr, R. (2021). Strength and conditioning program design considerations for law enforcement officers. Strength and Conditioning Journal 43(6) doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000680
- Rodas, K., Moreno, M., Bloodgood, A., Dawes, J., Dulla, J., Orr, R., Lockie, R. (2021). The effects aerobic fitness has on heart rate responses for a custody assistant recruit class performing a formation run. International Journal of Exercise Science 14(4): 1219-1233.
4. Lentine, T., Johnson, Q., Lockie, R., Joyce, J., Orr, R., Dawes, J. (2021). Occupational challenges to the development and maintenance of physical fitness within law enforcement officers. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 43(6) doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000679
TRU News Update: OCT 21
Disaster and Emergency Management Conference
Dr Rob Orr was recently invited to speak at the Disaster and Emergency Management Conference. His presentation showed the TRU's research collaborations with search and rescue (SAR) teams in the US and South Africa across military SAR specialists to local volunteers involved in mountain rescue. The presentation on how to physically prepare SAR personnel for load carriage and the physical rigours of working in austere environments is the precursor to research being undertaken in conditioning practices for SAR teams in the US.
Research for the NSW Police Force
The TRU recently completed a funded series of studies for NSW Police Force investigating marksmanship practices from reliability of assessments to performance under stress. Highlighting research translation to practice, recommendations from the associated Technical Report have been accepted and will be implemented in September 2021 to a cadre of 500 students currently at the Police Academy.
Research for Steel Blue
The TRU has begun the first of a series of research projects for Steel Blue footwear. The first form of work will be a scoping review looking at occupational footwear with a specific focus on boot wear, injury risk and performance impacts. The scoping review will guide future collaborations with Steel Blue who will use the research to further optimise their tactical boot wear.
Welcome HDR students Graham Marvin and Darren Corea
The TRU welcomes two new HDR students, both former Doctor of Physiotherapy students. Graham Marvin’s research will focus on ‘The relationship between sleep, training load, fatigue, and injury rates in emergency service workers.’ On a bursary from the ACT Emergency Services, Graham’s research will be conducted with ACT tactical personnel including ambulance, fire and rescue, rural fire services, and state emergency services personnel. Darren Corea’s research will focus on ‘The effects of a Virtual Reality-based intervention on chronic pain and anxiety in Veterans’. The research will take place in the newly-built Atlantis Recovery Centre using VR technology from TRU collaborators VirtuReal.
TRU MONTHLY UPDATE: AUG 21
Research with the Translational Simulation Collaborative (TSC)
The TRU recently teamed up with the Translational Simulation Collaborative (TSC) to pilot future research investigating stress responses in mission critical teams. Participants from the Gold Coast University Hospital Emergency Department worked through complex emergency simulated scenarios with various additional stressors, like intercom calls, distracted student doctors, and purposeful miscommunication, adding further challenges. Dr Victoria Brazil from the TSC ran the scenarios and post-action debrief while the TRU collected heart rate / heart rate variability and respiratory rate measures to inform basic levels of stress.
2021 #EndPJparalysis Global Online Summit
Dr Rob Orr recently presented at the 2021 #EndPJparalysis Global Online Summit which was hosted by none other than Professor Brian Dolan, OBE. Last year the 36-hour live event was watched in 15 countries with over 1,200 attendees. With an overarching theme of the negative impacts of deconditioning, generally within the elderly and hospital settings, Rob was asked to showcase how deconditioning can impact a well-trained population serving in tactical occupations.
Colin Tomes presents at the National Strength and Conditioning Conference
Doctor of Physiotherapy Alumnus, and current HDR student, Colin Tomes recently presented his work on Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Monitoring for Specialist Police at the National Strength and Conditioning Conference in the USA. Colin was inundated with questions on this emerging use of HRV in specialist police. The presented poster is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Varsity College ASPIRE Athlete Development Program
Dr Rob Orr was recently invited back to Varsity College to present to students who are part of the College’s ASPIRE Athlete Development Program. The 12-14 year old students, who compete in various high-level sports, attended the session which focussed on ‘The Warrior Mindset’. Drawn from his experience as a Physical Training Instructor in the Australian Army and competing in international competitions across several sports and events, Rob discussed mindset approaches as part of long-term athlete development that can be used to achieve more in sport as well as academic work.
Tactical Conditioning Optimisation Course (TACOPS)
Over 30 delegates from the Singapore Army and Singapore Prisons Emergency Action Response (SPEAR) Force recently completed the TRU’s 3-day Tactical Conditioning Optimisation Course. Dr Rob Orr presented the course virtually to soldiers, police officers, physiotherapists and exercise scientists who work with these tactical agencies. The course has been run in the USA, China and Singapore with the final course to be held for the Australian Army next month before the course is converted to a microcredential.
Tactical Strength and Conditioning Annual Training Conference
Dr Orr was again invited to present at the Tactical Strength and Conditioning Annual Training Conference hosted by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The conference was held in Norfolk, Virginia with over 700 delegates attending both physically and remotely. He delivered an 80-minute multimodal session on Building resilience into the legs of tactical personnel (at 1am Australian time) followed by a Q&A session.