Chapter 1 Lab
Preparticipation Health Screening, Medical Clearance, and Informed Consent
View or print this lab as a PDF.
The purpose of this laboratory is to describe the procedures used to perform preparticipation health screening. This is an important step that must be completed before a participant starts an exercise program or before being part of exercise testing.
The ACSM has provided recommendations for preparticipation health screening procedures for various populations.1 The ACSM defines preparticipation health screening as a three-step process that involves: (1) risk stratification and medical clearance, (2) additional preparticipation assessment, and (3) exercise test considerations. Of these three steps, risk stratification and medical clearance are the most important for performing exercise testing with healthy individuals. That this the focus of this lab.
Copies of the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) and the Pre-exercise Testing Health Status Questionnaire2
An individual’s risk during exercise can be assessed with a medical screening instrument such as the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) or a Pre-exercise Testing Health Status Questionnaire. The PAR-Q is a common medical screening instrument used by many exercise physiology laboratories. The procedures used to determine risk stratification using these two instruments are described below.
- Begin administering the PAR-Q by instructing the individual to complete the first seven questions.
- If the individual answers “yes” to one or more of the first seven questions, instruct him or her to contact a physician before performing any exercise. Inform the individual that he or she should tell the physician which questions had “yes” answers on the PAR-Q. The individual should also ask the physician what exercise tests should or should not be performed.
- If the individual answers “no” to all of the first seven questions, he or she should be allowed to perform the exercise test.
Pre-exercise Testing Health Status Questionnaire
- Begin the Pre-exercise Testing Health Status Questionnaire by instructing the individual to complete the general information at the top of the questionnaire and sections A through G.
- Examine the completed questionnaire and determine whether the individual can safely perform the exercise test that you are asking him or her to do. If you feel that the individual may be at a health risk during the exercise test, instruct him or her to contact a physician and receive medical clearance before performing the test.
1. American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 7th edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010.
2. Your school or organization may have its own preparticipation questionnaires. You can use them in this lab in place of the samples provided.
Lab adapted from Housh, T., Housh, D., & DeVries, H. (2012). Applied Exercise & Sport Physiology, 3e. (pp. 8-13). Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers.