As a medical NCO within the United States Army, not only did I have to ensure the safety and well being of my patients suffering from environmental injuries, it was my direct responsibility to prevent heat related environmental injuries among the Soldiers assigned to me as an instructor and as a First Sergeant. My primary defense in the prevention of heat related injuries was the utilization of the Wet Bulb and the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index. Oh how the times have changed.
Through the innovation of web based databases and the boom of group physiological status monitoring (PSM), now an instructor, coach, tactical athlete and athlete has the ability to monitor real time time hydration status and Estimated Core Temperature (ECT) Our team, Guardian Premier Solutions (GPS) in conjunction with Fusion Sport and Zephyr are able to track and report in realtime, hydration status and provide live PSM of tactical athletes and athletes capturing physiological metrics vital in determining environmental injuries.
A recent success story is early as last Friday, February 16th. While providing PSM in support of one of our DOD customers in Southern Texas, the command in coordination with the nutrition support staff, notified 90 trainees that there was a need to perform hydration checks due to the nature of the training session, as well as the increase of atmospheric temperature. Through the utilization of smart devices in conjunction with Fusion Sport’s SMARTABASE web-based system, 90 trainees completed a live hydration reporting form (Fig. 1) through the system, and were able to record their Specific Gravity within 5 minutes upon completion of specimen analysis and executed real time, web-based reporting (Fig. 2). Our staff, along with leadership and nutritional support staff, we able to analyze all 90 Specific Gravity readings, enabling us to immediately identify candidates who were dehydrated and to initiate hydration protocols within minutes, mitigating the exacerbation of dehydration and preventing environmental injuries.
(Fig.1, Hydration Report Form, GPS and Lindzi Torres, MS, MPH,RDN,CSSD)
(Fig. 2, Hydration report analysis reflecting trainee roster number, name, weight, urine color grade and Specific Gravity, GPS)
Along with the hydration report, our PSM technicians, consisting of two certified strength coaches, employed the Zephyr PSM system (Fig. 3) which enabled them to live monitor the heart rate, breathing rate, HRV and estimated core temperatures of all 90 trainees in realtime, and noted all trainees who had reported as either dehydrated and severely dehydrated. This is critical as we are able to see if the trainees had responded to hydration protocols and enabled medical staff to either remove trainees or allow them to continue to train based on PSM and their signs and symptoms. In this instance, all trainees responded to hydration protocols and were able to continue training, preventing environmental injuries and all the while, improving human performance.
(Fig. 3, Zephyr, Omnisense Live monitoring dashboard depicting ECT , Heart Rate, Breathing Rate and HRV, GPS and Zephyr)
This brings me full circle to the beginning. With the advancement of technology, we as Human Performance coaches, Strength coaches, Nutrition and Medical staff and most importantly, Athletes, are able to prevent heat related environmental injuries and improve human performance through realtime reporting, metric analysis and live PSM as well as the establishment of hydration protocols.
Samuel Morris BS,CSCS,USAW
Guardian Premier Solutions LLC