RSB Hq tells us that the purpose of assessments is to place boxers in their proper workout level… 1/2 or 3/4. A large portion of RSB affiliates hold combined level workouts… not enough 3/4s to justify a sperate workout. Most RSB coaches can watch a boxer walk in the door and know where they belong. Certainly after 10 minutes with them and their family.
In our Covington gym with 45 active boxers (average 18 per workout) we administered 87 assessments in 2023 That number includes 12 intake assessments and 8 boxers who had more than 2 assessments during the year. ALL 87 assessments were administered by our PARS Coordinator! A PC.
Although the PC wants to manage the assessment process for efficiency, a PC isn't typically as rushed as a coach might be having forced this assessment into their busy day. Your PC will build an environment of trust and confidence to the process and the boxer relationship. Consistency in administration of the tests and in the process is key. Just like the boxers have srong loyalty with their coaches, they will develop loyalty in their PC.
We have learned a lot in the last year about how to use assessments. We use assessments as a tool to help our boxers maximize their workouts, their physical therapy and their neurologist appointments! Here are a few examples…
- What's in it for the boxers: Boxers receive a printed Boxer Assessment Report after every assessment.
- Intake assessments: OK, so you can use the assessment to tell you that you are right about what level workout to put the boxer in. There are several ways to use the intake assessment beyond that.
- Establish your professional credentials with the new boxer and their family. Your assessment is better than what they get at their neurologist. Walking down the hall and back may tell the neurologist something, but it doesn't tell your boxer anything. The assessment report they receive to take home with them has more information than they receive anywhere else.
- The PARS assessment is a look at the functional physical and quality of life capabilities and limitations. Not medical diagnostics. Information they understand and can use.
- The intake assessment sets a baseline for future assessments. They cannot get this level functional assessment anywhere… not from their neurologist, not their physical therapist.
- They are given a printed copy of their assessment. Many neurologist and physical therapists give a visit summary with the boxer’s weight and temp, blood pressure and next appointment. Good information but not very useful.
- 3-month assessments for new boxers: In their intake, tell new boxers they will receive a 90-day reassessment. In one example, a Level 2 lady boxer, she shows improvement in her overall composite score, her balance and several tests within the FAB. The coach shows the boxer the impact Rock Steady can have in just 90 days and explains the long-term benefits. It reenforces attendance, hard work and commitment.
- 6-month routine assessments: Even is Winning!
- Quality of Life assessments: The PDQ provides insights into how your boxer is handling their Parkinson's and their aging. You will learn so much about where they are in the fight, what their motivations are or why they don't come to workouts regularly. The PAPI QoL plots how they do physically vs how they feel. An example is a boxer who does well physically and scores poorly in the PDQ. Their daily living score is out of sync with their physical score indicating they may be overly angry, frustrated or even depressed. They may be too critical of their situation. Their mental attitude may be impacting their daily life with Parkinson's and aging.
- Rehabilitation: An 85 y.o. lady boxer, Level 2 (no assistive device, loved focus mitts) who has been with us 5 years had back surgery and it didn’t go well leaving her almost an invalid. With PT, she returned after a couple months using a walker. We did an immediate assessment to set a new baseline. We have done reassessments about every 6 weeks. In Rock Steady (PT was done), she has gone from a PARS composite score of 43 to 76! Balance went from 15 to 52. From a walker to a cane. Her Mobility/Daily Living went from 19 to 48! Her Emotional and Social went from 67 to 92. All this time her Parkinson’s has stayed even, the changes were in her non-PD medical issues, but she has improved through the Rock Steady program. RSB Hq will hate this because it is out of our mission and there may be liability issues. But every boxer gets fitness, conditioning, range of motion, balance, etc. benefits from Rock Steady. And we weren’t going to abandon our boxer because the issues weren’t exclusively PD related.
- Alarm: A 6.5 year, Level 1 boxer took a couple weeks off with family in town. She returned after 2 weeks off, an obvious Level 3. He clearly could see the declines and should have taken her to a doctor earlier. Could this be a stroke? With her husband’s permission, we did an immediate assessment and her balance went from 95 (where it had been for 6 years) to a 15! We printed her assessment report and went over it with her husband. They happened to have an appointment with a new neurologist, one I recommended, in a couple days. I touched bases with the neurologist providing her with the boxer’s assessment report so when they arrive, the doctor has her assessment history showing a strong, independent boxer declining to a dependent boxer in just a few weeks. The neurologist thanked me for the heads up and historical background information on this boxer. She will get in 30 seconds what she would have to spend significant time investigating without the report.
- Income: Over the next few months, BwP will introduce new ways to get people to pay you to market Rock Steady to them. Rock Steady currently reaches 43,00 people. The US population of Parkies is over 1,000,000. That's less than 5%! Providing assessments to non-RSB Parkies can generate additional income and gives you the opportunity to tell the Rock Steady story.
Assessments are underutilized and undervalued. Your boxers cannot get an equivalent assessment anywhere... not from their neurologist... not from their physical therapist. You should be proud of that and charge for your time and expertise.