Healthy Athletes ®
Serving and supporting the athletes of Special Olympics
Kansas for a better quality of life.
* 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 in 2012, approximately 613 athletes participated in 7 Healthy Athlete screenings offered at state competitions; this represents 21% of the athletes who attended the competitions. Screenings are provided by local health care professionals who receive special training and volunteer their time and talents to benefit the athletes.
Healthy Athletes Events
Updated details for the annual events are listed on the event webpage. Check with Corazon Ochanda email@example.com, 913.236.9290 ext. 110 for more information.
In addition to Healthy Athletes screenings SOKS offers MedFest on an as-needed basis. MedFest is a free health screening that facilitates the acquisition of the standard sports physical that is required under the General Rules of Special Olympics, Inc. Volunteer physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and medical students, reviews medical history, height and weight, and blood pressure, in addition to providing the required cardiology test, musculoskeletal test, orthopedic tests, and abdominal evaluation. Health awareness and fitness information is also provided to the athletes.
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 2007-2012 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
Healthy Athletes programs are run by trained health care professionals. For more information on Healthy Athletes programs and volunteer requirements contact Corazon Ochanda firstname.lastname@example.org, or 913.236.9290 x110
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.
JOIN THE PROVIDER DIRECTORY
The Special Olympics Provider Directory is designed to provide an easy-to-use means for people with intellectual disabilities and their families to find a health care professional in their area. Health care professionals can enroll in this online database which is expected to be the largest list of health care providers for people with disabilities in the United States, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean.
Joining the Provider Directory is as easy as visiting:
http://soi-prod4.specialolympics.org/healthyathletes/login.asp. and signing up.
The resource is meant solely to facilitate the connection between a person with intellectual disabilities and a health care professional.
Check out the Healthy Athletes Facebook page.
The Healthy Athletes program is funded in part by grants from
The Employee Community Fund of Boeing, Wichita
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