February 1, 2017
By Steve Helm
All Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) athletes will have the opportunity to receive up to seven free healthcare screenings during this weekend’s statewide Winter Games in Austin. The free screenings, provided Healthy Athletes®, the world’s largest provider of medical services to people with intellectual disabilities, are scheduled to run Friday, Feb. 3 (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) and Saturday, Feb. 4 (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) at Norris Conference Center (2525 W Anderson Ln #365, Austin, TX 78757). Health insurance is not required.
Trained medical professionals from across the state will volunteer their time to screen athletes’ audiology, teeth and general wellness in a fun, relaxing environment. The athletes will also be provided with information to keep them healthy and competing at their very best.
“Our providers love to be around the athletes,” Director of Field Services Norm Arias said. “Our goal is to have every athlete attending our Winter Games to stop by and be screened for all of these disciplines. It’s a free service, so you definitely want to take the time to come out.”
All SOTX athletes, whether competing in a Winter Games sport or not, are invited and encouraged to take advantage of these free screenings offered through seven disciplines: Healthy Hearing, Special Smiles, Fit Feet, Health Promotions, FUNfitness, MedFest, and Strong Minds, Strong Bodies.
Healthy Hearing provides free audiology screenings and Special Smiles is a free dental exam for athletes, while Fit Feet offers podiatric screenings to evaluate ankles, feet, lower extremity biomechanics, and proper shoe and sock gear.
Health Promotions provides athletes with information on making healthy lifestyle choices through nutritious foods, physical activity and avoiding tobacco and overexposure to the sun. FUNfitness is a comprehensive fitness screening for the athletes and offers suggestions for improvement specific to the findings.
MedFest provides athletes with a free Athlete Medical, which is required for an athlete to participate in SOTX. This discipline is an exam that consists of taking vitals (blood pressure, height and weight), cardiology, abdominal, and musculoskeletal checks.
Strong Mind, Strong Bodies provides information about stress, stress management/techniques, and ways to improve overall mental health and wellness. The core components include: thinking good thoughts, breathing and stretching techniques, stress relief techniques, and creating a plan to keep a “strong mind".
The 2017 SOTX Winter Games will be held in Austin and throughout Central Texas from Friday, Feb. 3 – Sunday, Feb. 5. More than 2,400 athletes will compete in Bowling, Powerlifting or Volleyball. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.sotx.org/wintergames.