USF Health Honors & Awards

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Dr. John Mayer earns award from local firefighters for back injury research

USF researchers are testing back exercises that may prevent the low-back injury and pain suffered by firefighters. As a thank you for that effort, Tampa Fire Rescue (TFR) is presenting USF’s John Mayer, DC, PhD, with the TFR Safety Award.

Photo of Dr. John Mayer

Dr. John Mayer

Dr. Mayer, associate professor and Lincoln Endowed Chair in Biomechanical and Chiropractic Research at the USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences, is leading a study funded by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that is testing the effectiveness of back-specific exercises in preventing low back injury and pain among firefighters.

Back injuries are the number one cause of permanent disability and early retirement among firefighters, as they carry more than 50 pounds of protective gear in their jobs, haul heavy fire hoses to burning buildings, lift and maneuver stretchers around tight corners or contort themselves to extract accident victims from cars.

The current study has enrolled about 100 active-duty firefighters across 21 Tampa Fire Rescue stations in a twice-a-week workout regimen for six months.

Dr. Mayer will be presented with the TFR Safety Award at the 24th Annual Tampa Fire Rescue Awards Banquet later this month.