USAF Press Release: October 2011

Airman’s spouse dedicates life to warfighter improvement
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — Ty Colvin (left), wife of Capt. Neil Colvin, 91st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force Operations Officer, and Senior Airman Richard Ste Croix, 91st SFS TRF marksman, works with TRF volunteers in a doctoral physical assessment here, Sept. 9. TRF volunteers performed exercises with and without full battle gear to demonstrate how the equipment makes movement difficult. These volunteers are currently participating in a doctoral study which assesses any physical weaknesses or injuries they may have. The assessment can potentially reduce injuries in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ashley N. Avecilla)

Airman’s Spouse Dedicates Life to Warfighter Improvement

by Senior Airman Ashley N. Avecilla
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

10/12/2011 – MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — Certified Athletic Trainers regularly work with severe injuries due to football tackles and soccer kicks, but only recently have athletic trainers begun to analyze injuries related to military duty.

Ty Colvin, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and Licensed Athletic Trainer, and wife of Capt. Neil Colvin, 91st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force Operations Officer, is one of the few clinical research doctorate students who has decided to forge her way into the military world and make the United States Air Force a more productive and safe organization.

Not only has Ty Colvin’s research given her hands-on translational research skills, but it has allowed Airmen to individually receive the benefits of specialized Human Performance Integration using simple screenings. This allows Ty Colvin to identify important biomechanical elements which help Security Forces gain enhanced power.

“We can tell a lot from these assessments,” says Ty Colvin. “I can screen physically weak, broken or torn areas, current physical issues and possible future issues.”

Ty Colvin’s screening involves a variety of exercises with and without full battle gear. Depending on an individual’s posture while performing these exercises, Ty Colvin can pinpoint which muscles need help.

After each individual analysis, Ty Colvin can then compile specific measurements to prevent or treat musculoskeletal stress specific to each TRF role.

“In order to refine how each active duty member performs, the clinician and patient get together to create better research-centered care,” states Ty Colvin, who works as a Doctor of Athletic Training Resident. “This joint approach positively impacts elite Tactical Response Force capability through human optimization goals specific to nuclear life-cycle costs.”

“It was interesting to see how hard the basic movements are to do with full gear on,” says Airman 1st Class Arron Livsey, 91st SFG TRF Assaulter.

This physical assessment is significant because many physicians are not completely familiar with the daily physical training service members endure, especially today’s Airmen. Add on 50 plus pounds to the equation and you have a formula for life changing injuries.

“I don’t think that most people actually know how hard it is to move with all of the weight that we move with,” says Senior Airman Robert Holland, 91st SF TRF Assaulter. “Not only that, but just a simple arm motion is limited in the gear we wear.”

In 2009, the U.S. Army started a similar program named the Warrior Athletic Training Program, which Ty Colvin happened to be contacted for but then declined because she couldn’t commit to the study at the time. This program involves approximately 10 Auburn students who attend the U.S. Army’s 192nd Infantry Brigade training.

According to Auburn University, the Army has already spent approximately $585,000 since 2009 on this program. In turn, the program has saved the Army on hospital expenses and sick days due to training injuries.

“The difference between the Army program and this program is it involves the athletic trainer pursuing a terminal clinical research degree that will allow all healthcare practitioners to improve their ability to treat the high-performance occupations of the Air Force,” stated Neil Colvin.

“The Minot Tactical Response Force is subject to a variety of forces such as extreme temperatures and heavy gear that most professional athletes are never exposed to, yet this functional movement screening using our everyday gear is the first of its kind conducted for the United States Air Force, and is part of a new clinical research program affiliated with the University of Idaho, Moscow,” said Neil Colvin.

“Looking at the big picture, imagine how many Airmen go down on Personnel Reliability Program, can’t perform their job, or can’t deploy because they got hurt doing something work related, intramural sports, or physical training.”

Neil and Ty Colvin, as well as others, believe it is not uncommon for service members to push through the pain of an injury just to get through the duty day. The work for that day may be accomplished, but to what quality and to what lifelong consequence?

Individual assessments may be the key to preventing injuries that typically would lead to medical retirement or surgery the Air Force would be required to pay for.

Unfortunately, Ty Colvin is currently only working with TRF volunteers, but she hopes her work can be used throughout the base, and eventually the Air Force.

Ty Colvin’s intentions and work show that her research and preventative measures cannot only positively affect the Security Forces’ physical capabilities, which are critical to Minot’s nuclear security mission, but the Air Force in a variety of career fields.

“I’m proud of her, she’s pursing the first doctoral program of clinical athletic training in the nation,” says Capt. Colvin. “She is the only person who chose to study TRF warfighter capabilities specific to nuclear security for the USAF.”

Airman’s spouse dedicates life to warfighter improvement
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — 91st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force Airmen participate in a doctoral physical assessment here, Sept. 9. TRF volunteers performed exercises with and without full battle gear to demonstrate how the gear makes movement difficult. These volunteers are currently participating in a research study which assesses physical mobility. The assessment can potentially reduce injuries in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ashley N. Avecilla)
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