Apr 25, 2018
Weight Room Safety

Standards and Guidelines Updated

Adherence to the recently updated NSCA document can help limit liability in your weight room.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) released an updated version of the “Strength and Conditioning Professional Standards and Guidelines” in December 2017. This document is intended to help identify areas of risk exposure, increase safety, and decrease the likelihood of injuries that might lead to claims and suits. Its goal, overall, is to improve the standard of care being offered in strength and conditioning programs. It is a valuable resource for every person who oversees a weight room or strength and conditioning program.

“The document provides a digestible format of key legal concepts relative to strength and conditioning, and is a reference for quick determination of what has been established as a legal standard vs. what is a suggested guideline,” explains N. Travis Triplett, PhD, CSCS*D, FNSCA, lead author and President-Elect of the NSCA. “This is really the only document of its kind available for the field of strength and conditioning. It uses examples specific to strength and conditioning, and addresses situations most likely to be encountered in the strength and conditioning field.”

The strength and conditioning profession involves the combined competencies of sport/exercise science, administration, management, teaching, and coaching. Practitioners must also comply with various laws and regulations while responding to instances of potential injury and related claims and suits. This creates remarkable challenges and requires substantial experience, expertise, and other resources to effectively address them, especially in multisport (e.g., collegiate and scholastic) settings.

Ample resources are available in some of these settings but in many others, they are not. Budgets, equipment, facilities, and staff are often limited (or lacking altogether), with a resulting mismatch between the participants’ demand for safe and effective programs and services and the institution’s provision of them. It is important for strength and conditioning practitioners and their employers to understand that this standard of care is a shared duty. The institution and individual are thus jointly responsible for fulfilling it.

“This document is most appropriate for the strength and conditioning professional working in a college or high school,” explains Triplett. “While there are elements that can be used universally among all strength and conditioning professionals, it is not specific enough for personal trainers or tactical strength and conditioning facilitators.”

The standards and guidelines are based on published scientific studies, pertinent statements from other associations, analysis of claims, and a consensus of expert views. There are nine primary areas of importance, which encompass 11 standards and 14 guidelines.

“The primary updates involve the incorporation of the latest data and statistics related to the legal aspects of strength and conditioning, such as injury and participation data,” says Triplett. “There is also new information regarding safety in outside environments (e.g., lightning protocols).”

It is hoped that strength and conditioning practitioners and the institutions employing them will mutually benefit from applying this information, and in turn significantly enhance the quality of services and programs provided to their athletes.

You can download the Strength and Conditioning Professional

Standards and Guidelines at this link: bit.ly/2iKGRiY.

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