College Students Teach Peers Safer Way to Carry Book Bag on Back

Augusta, GA (WJBF)- Augusta University’s Occupational Therapy students have your back, literally.

The second-year students told WJBF News Channel 6 that 2,000 people go to the ER every year due to backpack related back pain. A handful of students from the College of Allied Health Sciences program were on campus to let students know how much they are carrying from class to class and how they can fix the problem of too much weight.

Reading for a college class is a requirement. When you have a lot of classes in a day, you have to carry around those books on your back all day.  Some students found out that can be dangerous.

Allison Jolley weighed several backpacks inside the student activities center on the Summerville Campus.

The load was 16 pounds for one senior studying biology and pre-physical therapy.

“I have my biology book and my chemistry book and two binders,” said Fabian Azofeifa.

But it’s not what he’s carrying.  It’s how he’s carrying it.

Jolley told him, “You want to make sure that you carry the heavier stuff closer to your back and then the smaller, lighter stuff further out.”

Occupational Therapy students discussed the distribution of weight inside their classmates’ book bags and location of where it should be when carried. Jolley told them straps can help alleviate extra weight causing pain.

“You don’t want it to be below your bottom.  So, the best way to do it is to tighten your straps all the way so that it’s just above your bottom,” Jolley said.

One junior would need to weigh 130 pounds just to carry her 13 pound book bag.  That’s because backpacks should weigh no more than ten percent of your body weight, according to the students.

“I tried not to put as many books in my book bag because I experienced back pain with my book bag before when I was in high school,” said Kandice Long.

Students like Long, who already have a history of back pain, can have a harder time getting rid of that pain, especially if the pain is over a period of time.

“If you think about it, you go to school from first to 12th grade and you have four years of college generally. So, you have 16 years,” Jolley said.

A lot of students I spoke with say they have to carry around those books because they need them for their classes.  Here’s a suggestion I have just from attending college.  Why don’t you photocopy the chapters that you need for the class that day instead of carrying around the books?

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