I would have to agree with the above comments. As much as you (or I) would like to help that client, we are only putting them, and ourselves at risk when we don’t insist on a medical clearance. I always tell my clients that it is important for them to get their doctor’s clearance as I don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize their health or function. Most of my clients have a pretty good relationship/history with their doctors that if they fax the med clearance to their doctors, some will sign off on it without necessarily needing them to come in for a visit. If co-pay or finances are an issue than this option usually works very well and gives me the peace of mind that I have done my due dillegence to my client’s safety. However, I just had a client whose physician decided he wanted to see them before signing and had to tell this client that we could not continue their training until this was done. My client had hoped to continue their training but understood that this was non-negotiable.
I also agree with prior comments that this is a good way to network with medical professionals.
For liability reasons, I would insist the client get clearance from his/her doctor before enganging in any type of activity. It’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s for their own health and safety above all. If any of my clients refuses to get clearance for any medical condition they have or develop while I’m training them, I refuse to train them.
Don’t feel bad for clients who refuse to get medical clearance; sometimes they have to take responsibility for themselves. We are there to help them, not to put their health in danger. There are medical conditions than can grow from a ‘small’ issue to something more serious, so it’s better to know what we’re dealing with anyway. While many trainers know a lot about the human body, we’re not qualified to determine whether a medical condition is serious enough to limit exercise, regardless of whether or not a client tells you they’ve been cleared medically.
In addition, I look at obtaining medical clearance as an opportunity to network with medical professionals. It gives credibility to our industry by demonstrating responsible, ethical practices, and it may end up in future referrals of clients.
Thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts. As all of you said, there are clients who wants to start training but are somehow uncomfortable or scared to ask their physician for advice. I firmly believe that as much as we want to help people take a path for a healthier and active lifestyle, we should always think of their safety first.
As hard as it is, I will have to make my client understand that.
I was once in a situation where a person had purchased a package with me as part of a silent auction for a charity. The information had indicated that a physician’s approval may be required.
When she called me to set up the appointments, it turned out that she had a medical condition for which I require a physician’s approval. She did not have health insurance and therefore did not want to go to a doctor. She knew that she needed to exercise and had hoped that I could get her on the right path.
I still feel bad about it many years ago, I did not train her because of the physician’s approval issue. I know that it was the correct and professional thing to do. Let something happen, and people will quite rightly say that you should have known better.
But it is not easy saying ‘no’.