Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Nutrition & Health Innovation Research Institute
Western Australian Police Force, Joondalup, Western Australia, Grant ID: G1006008
MM and NHH are partly supported by the Defence Science Centre (WA), within the Department of Defence, Science and Technology, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia
A lack of published epidemiological data among police recruits presents a major challenge when designing appropriate prevention programs to reduce injury burden. We aimed to report the injury epidemiology of Western Australian (WA) Police Force recruits and examine sex and age as injury risk factors
Retrospective analyses were conducted of prospectively collected injury data from WA Police Force recruits between 2018–2021. Injury was defined as ‘time-loss’ and injury incidence rate per 1000 training days (Poisson exact 95% confidence intervals) was calculated. For each region and type of injury, the incidence, severity, and burden were calculated. The association between age, sex, and injury occurrence were assessed using Cox regression time-to-event analysis.
A total of 1316 WA Police Force recruits were included, of whom 264 recruits sustained 304 injuries. Injury prevalence was 20.1% and the incidence rate was 2.00 (95%CI 1.78–2.24) injuries per 1000 training days. Lower limb injuries accounted for most of the injury burden. Ligament/ joint injuries had the highest injury tissue/pathology burden. The most common activity injuring recruits was physical training (31.8% of all injuries). Older age (Hazard Ratio = 1.5, 95%CI = 1.2 to 1.9, p = 0.002) and female sex (Hazard Ratio = 1.4, 95%CI = 1.3 to 1.6, p < 0.001) increased risk of injury.
Prevention programs targeting muscle/tendon and ligament/joint injuries to the lower limb and shoulder should be prioritised to reduce the WA Police Force injury burden. Injury prevention programs should also prioritise recruits who are over 30 years of age or of female sex, given they are a higher risk population.
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