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Case Study – 2002

I am pleased to announce for the third time in four years, our scientific abstract submitted to the American College of Sports Medicine was accepted for presentation at their annual scientific meeting.  This year the data presented is for United Airlines (UAL).

The presentation is entitled “Injury Reduction in Airline Workers Through a New Hire  Physical Capability Screening Program”. 

The presentation will be made on May 31, 2002 at the annual meeting for the American College of Sports Medicine in St. Louis, MO.  Dr. Gary Kohn, Medical Director for United Airlines, is one of the co-authors on the abstract.

The standard DataFit isokinetic physical capability testing protocol (knees and shoulders) was used for UAL’s new hire applicants for the last 6-months of 2000 and compared to the new hire applicants for the first 6-months of 2000. The only difference in the hiring procedures between the two time periods was the DataFit physical capability test All injuries tracked were matched on length of employment.

The results clearly showed a statistically significant reduction in the frequency of injuries and cost. 

In fact, the frequency of injuries for the DataFit Tested group was 3.85 times less than expected and the cost for the DataFit Tested group was 25.6 times less than expected.

We are very pleased with these results. This research study further supports numerous case studies that we have completed and have available in the transportation, distribution, trucking, food distribution, manufacturing, and construction industries.

The following scientific abstract was accepted and the research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in St. Louis on May 31, 2002.

The abstract was also published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Volume 34:5 Supplement, 2002.


Gilliam, G. Kohn, S. Lund and M. Hoffman, DataFit, Hudson, OH;
United Airlines’ Medical Dept., Chicago, IL


To determine the effectiveness of a physical capability evaluation program on the reduction of frequency of injury and associated costs for a major US airline.


New hire applicants at Chicago O’Hare Airport hired from 1/00 through 6/00 (Not Tested – NT, n=424) were compared to new hire applicants tested and recommended for hire from 7/00 through 12/00 (Tested – T, n=494). 

The job classifications included ramp, cabin cleaner, ticket agent and airfreight. The T group received an isokinetic flexion/extension evaluation of the knees and shoulders at 60 degrees/sec. The raw data, including peak torque; right and left and agonist and antagonist ratio scores; and force curve normality rating, were mathematically analyzed to generate a Department of Labor Dictionary of Occupational Title strength rating (sedentary, light, medium, heavy and very heavy).

The rating was matched against the job requirement and recommendation for hire was based on a correct match. Injury data were used to determine differences between the T and NT groups. Only those injuries occurring within the first 6-months of employment were considered. 


A Chi-Square analysis showed the observed frequency of injury for the T group (n=21) was significantly less than expected (n=81) in comparison to the frequency of injury for the NT group (n=64) which was about the same as expected (n=69) (Chi-Square = 44.807, df=1, p< .0000). The total injury cost observed for the T group was $18,018 or 25.6 times less than expected ($461,214) in comparison to the observed for the NT group ($364,416), which was nearly equal to the expected ($392,886)


These results show an isokinetic knee-shoulder new hire physical capability evaluation significantly reduced the frequency and costs of work related injuries for a major US airline.

Sponsored by Dr. Patty Freedson, FACSM

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