Elite athlete testing may revamp injured worker compensation practices

An interdisciplinary research team at Queen’s University is assessing work-related injuries with the same high-tech equipment used in assessing elite athletes.

Lead researcher Sivan Almosnino hopes that new testing procedures for work-related injuries will lead to less subjective testing and better treatment options.

“We have begun to regard injured workers as occupational-athletes, as the physical demands of their jobs sometimes resemble those in elite sport settings,” says Sivan Almosnino, a doctoral candidate in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and the lead researcher on the project.

The new testing procedure better enables clinicians to objectively determine whether participants exerted their best effort during muscle strength testing.

“We hope that this innovative and advanced technology will boost the confidence of injured workers during assessment,” says Mr. Almosnino, who won the prestigious Canadian Society for Biomechanics Award for his presentation of the new testing method at a recent biomechanics conference in Ontario.

The research team, including orthopedic surgeon Davide Bardana, ergonomics professor Joan Stevenson, and biomechanics professor Zeevi Dvir from Tel Aviv University, Israel, recently partnered with the Queen’s University-based Canadian Institution for Military and Veteran Health Research. Dr. Bardana will begin using the team’s new testing methods this summer to assess injuries sustained by the military population living in Kingston.

This research was funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program (CREATE) and was conducted by researchers in the Human Mobility Research Centre (HMRC). The HMRC is a partnership between Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital and serves as a point of collaboration between the disciplines of medicine, engineering, health sciences, and information technology.