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Healthy Athletes ®

Serving and supporting the athletes of Special Olympics

Kansas for a better quality of life.

Healthy Athletes logo * FACT people with intellectual disabilities are at a 40% greater risk for preventable secondary health issues than the general population 

* FACT… on a national level, a recent study suggested up to 75% of Special Olympics athletes are considered overweight

* FACT...  in general health care professionals are not trained in, or experienced with, caring for people with intellectual disabilities
 
    

Special Olympics Kansas (SOKS) has offered Healthy Athletes since 2003. This program provides free health screenings to registered SOKS athletes at competition venues and at selected stand alone events.  Offered in a welcoming, family friendly and fun environment, these screenings educate athletes on healthy life style choices  and attempt to identify potential health issues.  When health issues are discovered they are shared with guardians, and when asked SOKS will work with caregivers to develop a follow-up plan with a health professional.

In Kansas every year athletes participate in 5 Healthy Athlete screenings offered at state competitions. Screenings are provided by local health care professionals who receive special training and volunteer their time and talents to benefit the athletes.

Disciplines


Healthy Athletes Events
To volunteer to help with Healthy Athletes click on this link. Updated details for the annual events are listed on the State Competition Individual Events pages. Check with Terri Price, pricet@ksso.org,  913.236.9290 ext. 109 for more information. 

Statistics

Healthy Athletes, collects, analyzes and disseminates data on the health status of Special Olympics athletes, and advocates improved health policies and programs for people with intellectual disabilities.  SOKS Health Screenings from 2007-2014 indicate:

  • 19% of athletes have mouth pain
  • 36% of athletes have untreated tooth decay
  •   7% of athletes have never had an eye exam
  • 36% of athletes need a new eye prescription
  • 40% of athletes have a blocked ear canal
  • 38% of youth are obese
  • 59% of adults are obese
  • 48% of athletes are physically active less than 3 days a week 
Volunteers

Healthy Athletes programs are run by trained health care  professionals.  For more information on Healthy Athletes programs and volunteer requirements contact Terri Price, pricet@ksso.org, 913.236.9290 Ext. 109

Healthy Athletes works to improve access to health care for Special Olympics athletes, makes referrals to local health practitioners where appropriate, trains health care professionals and (medical) students about the needs and care of individuals with intellectual disabilities. We still have a long way to go to serve the needs of all of our athletes. Here are ways that you can help:

  • If you are a health care professional consider sharing your time and talents as a volunteer at a Healthy Athletes event.
  • If you work in the health profession ask your health care facility to consider opening its doors to our athletes as potential health issues are identified at screenings.
  • If you are a parent of an athlete who participates in the program, consider sharing your thoughts on the value of Healthy Athletes or personal stories of how the program has had an impact on your son or daughter?
  • As a coach or local program coordinator you can continue to support the health and wellness programs and encourage your athletes to attend the screenings.
  • Contribute financially to the program.


 

Thank you to our Healthy Athletes partners.

Amerigroup            Sunflower Health Plan

 
   

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