Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What if a Client is Injured during a Session?

What do you do if a client is injured during a session performing one of YOUR Exercises? Is it the end of your career? Will you be banished from the industry? Take a seat and take a deep breath...

The most important thing is to assess the situation--is the client conscious? What degree of pain is the client in? Should advanced medical response be summoned?

Most injuries sustained while working out are usually caused by poor form brought upon by poor coordination, control, and poor communication. Even if all these factors are executed through proper instruction, an injury can still happen. Why?

Regular exercise usually exploits an injury (or has always been chronic) waiting in the wings. For example, if you work with general population clientèle, they will come to you with one of the following ailments already:

Painful knees
Painful lower back
Painful shoulder

Those are what I call the big three. Any movement you have your client perform involving these joints, will have a profound effect on the inflammation process of that injury. Meaning, the injury is already there--before they came to you--exercise or physical activity is simply letting that injury flare up. This is where corrective exercise and re-education is so important.

The responsible thing to do is educate the client and carefully assess the degree of injury we are talking about. Does it need a band-aid? Or does it need a splint?

I have had clients suffer minor injuries during sessions: med ball bounces and jams nail...client pulls groin...client jams entire finger...or client scrapes knee. Every response has been the same: communication. The client is made well-aware of injury and what restrictions it imposes on our training.

For the fitness professional, it is important to restore confidence in a client who has been injured. This depends greatly on what type of injury was sustained (band-aid versus splint); the client/trainer relationship prior to the incident; the history of client adherence; and the exercise program design following the injury.

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