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Mayo and La Crosse Fire Department team up to enhance firefighter fitness – WIZM 92.3FM 1410AM

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It’s not just baseball and football players who go through daily training routines to be in top shape.

Firefighters have their regular training schedule. La Crosse Fire Department has partnered with Mayo Clinic Health System in the town to bring new technology to the training.

Mayo sports medicine chair Dr. Jacob Erickson says an app can notice small things about a person’s body.

“We just hold up the app with the camera and the video,”Erickson said: “and then the person goes through various movements, and it can very efficiently identify asymmetry, so how one leg is moving, how one hip is moving, how their lower back is moving, and then we can use that to identify any restrictions and then correct that.”

One goal of the training program is to help firefighters breathe easier when they’re on the scene of a fire.

The sports medicine project uses high tech equipment to help doctors and firefighters recommend exercise and other therapies to improve the health and well-being of those who respond to emergency calls and firefighting calls.

Cory Westpfahl of La Crosse Fire compares this type to what professional athletes do on a job.

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“Just like an NFL team or a baseball team, they got their trainers that do specific stuff for those athletes, we’re athletes just in a different sense,”Westpfahl claimed, “and they’re gonna be able to tailor the workouts and physical therapy and stuff…for us, and make it benefit specific to firefighting.”

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Westpfahl said that improving the fitness and health of firefighters could result in fewer sick days, which could save taxpayers money.

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