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Wrist injuries play keyboard users

I am writing this letter in an effort to open conversation on a topic that has been a concern to me for some time. I have been an employee of MIT for four years and have been at the Laboratory for Computer Science for all of that time. I have noticed that more and more graduate and even undergraduate students are walking around with wrist bands, or wrist supports.

When I ask them about it, they tell me they have developed carpel tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. Usually after a couple of weeks with the wrist support, they feel better and they are right back at the keyboard.

I happen to know of two people (not students) who will never be able to type for themselves again because carpel tunnel or tendonitis. This causes me to wonder whether MIT is aware of the intensity of this problem in their student population and what they are doing about it.

As an employee, I find myself wondering what I would do if I couldn't type anymore. My job depends on my being able do so. How many students are going to find themselves wondering the same thing as they graduate and start to work at their jobs? I am aware of handouts that Information Services distributes on preventative measures and I am sure incoming freshmen get them in their orientation packets (if they don't, they should). This is a step in the right direction and might do a lot to relieve the problem. However, how many students out there say "this will never happen to me?"

How many students, for one reason or another, never saw the handout and don't know about it? Can more preventative measures be taken? Can frequent, 60-minute ergonomics seminars be offered for the students by Information Services? Can your newspaper publish the IS handout each semester on how to prevent this problem? What about MIT preparing the students in an alternate career should they find somewhere in their future, they can no longer type? My basic question is, what is MIT doing to prepare the students to deal with this problem should it ever happen to them? After all, what difference does it make if you graduate with a degree that will get you a job almost anywhere in the world, but you no longer have the physical capability to use it?

Sally C. Bemus->

Administrative Staff Assistant->

MIT Laboratory for Computer->