Premier Health Expands Healthy Heroes Program for First Responders

Premier Pulse     May 2019

Premier Health is expanding the reach of its free comprehensive wellness and fitness program that supports the effectiveness, efficiency, and durability of first responders. The Healthy Heroes program helps prepare first responders for the physical readiness of the job and fight risk factors associated with sudden cardiac arrest.

Healthy Heroes programs are currently being implemented in Huber Heights, Clayton, Troy, Moraine, Vandalia, Brookville and Beavercreek Fire Departments. The Centerville Police Department recently joined the program as well. 

As part of the program, a certified athletic trainer credentialed as a certified tactical strength and conditioning facilitator conducts weekly injury evaluation clinics at the participating fire stations. Working one-on-one with firefighters, the athletic trainer provides preventive consultations and education, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, rehabilitation of injuries, and referral for medical conditions as needed.

The expanded reach of this free program for first responders has been made possible through the support of Premier Health’s hospital foundations: Miami Valley Hospital Foundation, Good Samaritan Foundation - Dayton, Atrium Medical Center Foundation, and Upper Valley Medical Center Foundation.

One Participant’s Story

After three decades of work in the fire service, Mike Muhl’s body was showing wear and tear.

As the Huber Heights fire division battalion chief thought about options, he had a couple of goals in mind. “I was looking to prolong my career, and I was looking for a way to get myself healthy again,” he said.

With an “extremely arthritic knee” and the effects of other injuries piled up over time, Muhl turned to Premier Health and the Healthy Heroes program for first responders around two years ago. He visited the program at Miami Valley Hospital North two to three times a week and, within a couple of months, lost weight and regained his mobility. Due to intervention, he has been able to continue work and delay knee replacement without sacrificing mobility and quality of life.

When Premier Health expanded the Healthy Heroes program earlier this year by taking it into the work environment of first responders, Muhl had laid the groundwork with fellow firefighters. “I had already prepared them on how the program could benefit firefighters overall. When it was time to start, everyone was well-schooled in it,” he said.

Muhl said the program is well thought out, as it approaches health and wellness in a holistic manner. “They are addressing firefighters as athletes, realizing what we do is similar to athletes, with intense work within a short duration of time,” he said. 

Last fall, Muhl immediately turned to Premier Health orthopedics after his leg was crushed in training. Prompt care and treatment helped him return to work more quickly than anticipated, he said. “It is fantastic. The athletic trainers and doctors can identify a problem and deal with it. I firmly believe this program is key to me being able to continue in my work,” he said.

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