OTA Club Conducts Backpack 'Weigh-In'

Published 09.20.2006


Students bring backpacks to Wednesday's OTA club 'weigh-in' outside the Susquehanna Room. (Photo by Phillip C. Warner, student writer-photographer)The semester is well under way and the Occupational Therapy Assistant club asks: Do your neck, back or shoulders hurt yet? Do you know why? It just might be your backpack!

Carrying too much weight or improperly wearing backpacks can cause neck, back and shoulder pain and compromise posture and breathing. The U.S Consumer Product and Safety Commission estimates that, each year, nearly 5,000 emergency-room visits result from injuries related to backpacks and book bags; six out of 10 students report chronic back pain related to heavy backpacks.

The Occupational Therapy Assistant club conducted a "weigh-in" to illustrate how heavy student backpacks are. Club members also provided "Pack It Light, Wear It Right" information on proper techniques to pack and wear backpacks, and raffled a backpack filled with school supplies. The event was held in the LEC, outside the Susquehanna Room, from 11 a.m to 2 p.m.

The OTA club sponsored this event in conjunction withWednesday's American Occupational Therapy Association "Backpack Awareness Day." Occupational therapy practitioners from across the country weighed backpacks, highlighting the large number of students who carry more than the recommended load in their packs and then demonstrate ways to lighten the burden. Occupational therapy assistants work in a variety of settings serving individuals with physical, psychosocial or developmental disorders. They work to promote, reinforce, restore or maintain health through the use of purposeful activity.