The contents of this blog are not to be construed in any manner as legal advice nor is there any intent to establish an attorney-client relationship through use of this blog. Any legal situation is heavily dependent upon the particular facts presented and if you as a reader believe you are in need of advice please contact an attorney for a confidential consultation.
This publication is written and published to provide accurate and authoritative information relevant to the subject matter presented. It is published with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering legal, medical or other professional services by reason of the authorship or publication of this work. If legal, medical or other expert assistance is required, the services of such competent professional persons should be sought. Moreover, in the field of personal fitness training, the services of such competent professionals must be obtained.
Adapted from a Declaration of Principles of the American Bar Association and Committee of Publishers and Associations
One of the first issues personal trainers need to address in their personal training business is: “What kind of screening should fitness professionals use with their clients?” This is really a complex question and deserves a thoughtful response. However, if personal trainers want to protect themselves from the potential legal risks associated with client screening, such trainers should consider the use of a PAR-Q form for this purpose.
A PAR-Q form is an activity readiness questionnaire filled out by clients to self-determine if they need to be cleared by their health care professional prior to engaging in an exercise or training activity. If the PAR-Q questions are answered in such a way so as to communicate to the client that the client needs to see a physician before activity, then the burden is on the client to do so. No evaluation or interpretation of the client’s information is needed with a PAR-Q as would be the case with a fitness professional’s analysis of a health history questionnaire. Use of a PAR-Q form keeps it simple and the responsibility of the client; but personal trainers should keep a copy of the PAR-Q for their records.
Despite this information, what does a personal trainer do if a client refuses to fill out a PAR-Q or any other kind of screening form? What if the client refuses to see a health care provider for clearance if the screening document indicates that a client should be cleared by a health care professional? Read the next blog and learn what to consider.