The investigation into the load carrying of military applications and children with a disability has been thoroughly evaluated. A population that has been largely ignored, though they are subjected to load carrying daily is the college student. College students often carry books and notebooks from class to class and can be subjected to substantial loads. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of backpack load on positional parameters of static posture in college students. METHODS: Nineteen college-aged students (n = 19, Age = 21.4 ± 1.3 years, Height = 1.7 ± .1 m, Weight = 66.7 ± 10.4 kg) walked on an instrumented treadmill for 3 - 4 minutes followed by 1 minute of quiet standing while wearing an empty backpack and while wearing a backpack containing a 25lbs load. During the quiet standing trials, the center of pressure (COP) positional parameters (range, mean, root mean square (RMS)) of static posture were computed in both the anteroposterior (AP) and the mediolateral (ML) directions from COP force data. Data between the loaded and unloaded conditions was compared using a dependent t-test with an alpha of 0.05. RESULTS: There was a significant increase for the COP AP Range in the loaded ( M = .79 ± .31.) compared to the unloaded ( M = .41 ± .26 ) conditions ( p < .05 ). There was also a significant increase for the COP ML Range in the loaded ( M + .16 ± .2 ) compared to the unloaded ( M = .05 ± .02) conditions ( p < .05 ). There were no differences for the Mean and RMS for either the AP or ML directions ( p > .05 ). CONCLUSION: Backpack load led to an increase in the positional parameter of postural control, AP and COP range. Backpack load did not have an effect on the mean or RMS of postural control. The increased backpack load caused the students to have greater excursions of their COP, however, this does not provide us with a clear understanding of what is happening to the postural control of the students. Further research into the effect of backpack load on the organization of the postural control and postural variability should be considered.



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