Should Trainers Assess?

by Gray Cook |  Date Released : 27 Jun 2008

  • Introduction
  • Debate around the topic of assessment
  • Should fitness professionals assess
  • Clearly defining what we’re talking about
  • Defining Movement appraisal, screening and assessment
  • Is assessment diagnosis?
  • Staying within your scope of practice
  • Interacting with the medical professionals in our community
  • Knowing why vs. what to do
  • A faulty movement pattern is not the result of an isolated muscle or joint problem
  • Assessment is used when something is wrong
  • Movement screen is what we do for people who are “normal” wishing to increase their activity level
  • Medical history the practitioner determine the gap between the client/patients perception and reality
  • The first order of business is to determine the adequacy of the clients movement patterns
  • The biggest problem with the science in fitness is that all the research have given us quantitative data
  • Defining appraisal, screening and assessment
  • Appraisal is simply an estimate of quality of movement
  • Movement patterns are much bigger than the muscles underneath them
  • Screening helps you to determine quality of movement and observe movement patterns to assess predictors of injury
  • The first predictor of a problem is if the client has had a previous problem
  • Left/right asymmetries and movement limitations are the second and third predictors of whether your client or athlete is going to have an injury
  • Summing it up
  • Organized appraisal is the first thing you do with a client
  • The movement screen helps you determine risk, asymmetry and limitation
  • An assessment is done by a fitness professional when they look at all the data and try to build an exercise program
  • A medical assessment is diagnostic in nature

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Gray Cook

About the author: Gray Cook

Gray Cook, a practicing physical therapist, has spent his entire career refining and developing functional evaluation exercise techniques. His interests have led him in two directions. The first was in the field of reactive training techniques starting with his Masters thesis. His work was developed into a journal article that was the foundation of a nationally recognized continuing education course for physical therapists and athletic trainers. The course is offered through the North American Sports Medicine Institute and the information ultimately became a book chapter. Gray’s second contribution was in the form of functional movement screening. This tool is not so much an evaluation for individuals entering rehabilitation as it is a screening tool for individuals participating in sports and fitness activities.

Gray’s first movement screen targeted the athletic population out of a desire to curtail the unnecessary injuries in athletics as a result of poor conditioning and poor flexibility that result in poor movement patterns. He realized that the one piece of information not currently being considered in the field of sports medicine, sports conditioning, fitness and rehabilitation was that movement is represented not by isolated singular movements but by unique patterns of movement that can either work together or against each other in the human system. Cook realized that a system needed to be in place to recognize and objectify these patterns.

Gray has lectured nationally and internationally in the fields of physical therapy, sports medicine and performance enhancement. He has served as a consultant to numerous universities and professional sports teams in all four major sports. Gray’s consulting is not limited to rehabilitation and sports medicine. He is equally sought after for his advice on conditioning and performance enhancement. Gray currently practices physical therapy in southwest Virginia and continues to publish and present topics related to rehabilitation and exercise.

Gray is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist with the American Physical Therapy Association. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Level I coach with the U. S. Weight Lifting Federation.

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