This week we hear from symposium speaker Chris Marella:
Tell our readers a little bit about your own journey
My journey in the fire service started in high school. My brother was a part time firefighter for the Winfield Fire Protection District and got me involved in the explorer program. After high school, I played two seasons of junior hockey while also working at Winfield and going to junior college. It was a busy time in my life but I enjoyed the workload and I’ve been fortunate to continue to keep the pace high. From there I worked with Air Angels while going through paramedic school. I also worked for PSI in Franklin Park, full-time in Alsip for a short stint. and then full-time with the City of Elgin since 2008. While in Elgin, I have worked as a strength and condition coach and personal trainer at LGN Performance, as well as being on the Health and Wellness Committee as the head of operations for the fire department.
Through my time in Elgin I have noticed a gap in the community and industry. While many public fitness professionals are enthusiastic and well educated in fitness and training, there can be a great difference in the types of training that we as first responders need to have a long and healthy career, compared to the average person. I created 4th Shift Fitness late in 2017 to fill that gap. My mission with 4th Shift fitness is to educate and train fire service personnel to increase durability and decrease the potential for injuries and their associated costs. By going to fire departments and using a combination of presentation and hands on, I can reach the front line of the fire service and help reduce the negative physical impacts of the job.
Give us a short summary about the topic you will be presenting at the symposium
My presentation at the symposium is titled The Road to Injury, and the Path Back. We will be looking at how, as first responders, we get injured. From on-scene, to weight room, to everyday life there are things we do and ways we move that contribute to injury. The presentation focuses on what those things are, and how to get back from the injuries they cause. The presentation includes plenty of physical cues as well as addressing the mental toll of injuries and rehab including managing expectations after injury.
Should someone attend your session, what is one take-away (they will learn) that can be implemented immediately?
The road to injury can be long and winding, as can the path back. But there are several pit-stops along the way that we all pass through. Aside from identifying the most common causes of injuries including a close look at back injuries, we will also be able to provide a wide-angle view of the impact of injuries. Like any fire or ems scene, having that overall perspective of the evolving conditions can better prepare us to avoid danger, or give us the best chance of mitigating disaster.