Prior to becoming a full-time academician in 1994, Dr. Eickhoff-Shemek worked as a health/fitness manager in various settings (e.g., community, clinical, educational) for nearly 20 years. As a manager, she always believed the safety of members and participants was her #1 priority. The following list describes some the many risk management strategies she developed and implemented. The safety record in these facilities/programs was exemplary – no claims/lawsuits were ever made against her, her staff members, or the facilities. In one facility, the liability insurance provider even lowered the premiums due to an excellent safety record.
If Dr. Eickhoff-Shemek was a manager again today, she would still provide a similar educational program for all group exercise leaders and personal trainers. Possessing an accredited certification is important but more important is successfully completing a formal educational program that includes practical training. Improper instruction is one of most common liability exposures that fitness facilities face.
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Dr. Eickhoff-Shemek began her career as health/fitness manager in 1975. The above risk management strategies were made years before professional organizations began to publish safety standards and guidelines for fitness facilities. Fortunately, today fitness managers have many more resources to help them with their risk management efforts.