Seeing the Commercial Truck Driver as an Occupational Athlete

Monday, 9 November 2015

Bryan Combs, MSN, MS, BS, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNL, ATC
School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

The National Institute for Occupational Safety created innovative research in the evaluation of common risk factors, health behaviors, and injury of occupational workers across the US.  One of the largest sectors of their research involves the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (TWU) Sector.  The TWU sector accounts for 6.6% of the total workforce in the US.  In recent years research of the TWU sector has concentrated on the health and injuries of the U.S. commercial driver.  There are over 1.4 million truck drivers in America today and the trucking industry has some of the highest work-related injury claims of any of the industries in America. 

The purpose of this poster will be to educate the audience on the most common musculoskeletal injuries seen in long haul truck drivers.  It will discuss the incident rates of these musculoskeletal injuries and the length of work time lost.  It will concentrate on the current state of the science and will elaborate the need for future research.  This information will be utilized to help illustrate the need for creating new research and new nursing knowledge regarding this unique profession and the varying musculoskeletal injuries they endure.  When the nurses that are interested in the fields of occupational health and orthopedics understand the state of the science of occupational musculoskeletal injuries within this workforce they will be able to see that there is a large gap in current research. 

Current research shows that the long haul truck driver has higher rates of obesity, hypertension, and sleep apnea when compared to the general public.  These are not conditions you would attribute to an athlete, however many of the musculoskeletal injuries seen in the long haul truck driver are similar to those seen in athletes.  As the nurse researchers investigates the long haul truck driver it is important to not look at this population as an unhealthy overweight population but to see them as a patient population that has increased loads on their bodies similar to that of athletes.  The objective of this poster is to educate nurse researchers on the unique patient population of the long haul truck driver and with this increased understanding they will be able to create and develop nursing research and new nursing knowledge that looks at this patient population from the unique perspective they deserve.  The poster will also illustrate the need for future research in the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries of the occupational athlete, the long haul truck driver.