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Healthy Athletes is a Special Olympics program that provides free health screenings in a fun, welcoming environment that removes the anxiety and trepidation people with intellectual disabilities often experience when faced with a visit to a doctor or dentist.

The Healthy Athletes program has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.

Screenings

If a screening reveals that an athlete needs glasses (including sport glasses) or orthotics, those items are provided to the athlete free of charge (while supplies last), thanks to generous grants provided by health-related companies.

Special Olympics Texas provides approximately 1,500 health screenings annually at the Winter Games, Summer Games and Fall Classic state competitions.

Other Resources

Follow-Up Care Resources

SOTX offers the following free health screenings to its athletes.
No medication will be given or distributed to our athletes.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor

Provide financial support or facilities/clinics for Healthy Athletes screenings and/or follow up treatments.

Recruit

Ask your doctors, dentists, etc. if they would like to volunteer at our next clinic.

Volunteer

Ask your doctors, dentists, etc. if they would like to volunteer professional services at our next health screening.

  1. Submit a cover letter and resume
  2. Attend a three-day training
  3. Make a 3-year commitment

Importance and Impact

Despite a mistaken belief that people with intellectual disabilities receive the same or better care, typically they receive sub-standard care or virtually no health care at all.

Health screenings have found that Special Olympics athletes are at risk for increased secondary health issues:

  • 50% have at least one kind of skin or nail condition
  • 37% have obvious, untreated tooth decay
  • 27% fail hearing tests
  • 22% have low bone density
  • 15% have an eye disease

Licensed podiatrists who will screen athletes’ feet, check shoe size, and provide orthotic inserts if needed. Fit Feet provide the following:

  • Orthotic inserts

NOTE: Orthotic inserts are of limited sizes and of limited supplies for each size.

Licensed Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants who will provide our athletes health screenings.

The screenings are provided in the following areas:

  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Aerobic Fitness

Are certified and have a current license as a health professional Dietitian, Registered Nurse, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Medical Doctor. Health professionals screen and provide our athletes educational material on general health.

Health promotions provide the following:

  • Free Bone Density check
  • Provide educational material for:
    • Clean hands
    • Hydration
    • Sun Safety
    • Nutrition
    • Blood Pressure
    • Bone Density
    • Tobacco Awareness
  • Sun exposure bracelet
  • Chap stick

Are certified and have a current license as an Audiologist and/or Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) specialist who will provide our athletes with a free hearing test.

Licensed Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners provide our athletes a free health screening for their Athlete Medical form.

Each athlete must have a current Athlete Medical in order to compete at Area, State, National, and World competitions. MedFest provides the following:

  • Free Athlete Medical screening (SOTX Athlete Medical form for participation)

NOTE: The first 3 pages of the Athlete Medical Form must be completed and signed by a parent and/or guardian. If the athlete is his/her own guardian, he/she may complete and sign the first 3 pages if he/she is capable. If the first 3 pages of the Athlete Medical form is not complete, the health professional cannot do the MedFest screening.

Are certified and have a current license as an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist who will provide our athletes free vision screenings.

Opening Eyes provided the following:

  • Prescription Glasses
  • Prescription Sports Googles (if the athlete participates in a sport where sports googles are needed, example: Basketball)
  • Sun Glasses (only provided if the athlete does not need prescription glasses and/or sports googles)

NOTE: Glasses, Sport Googles, and Sun Glasses will be provided while supplies last.

Current licensed Dentist or Dental Hygienist who will provide our athletes with free dental screenings.

Special Smiles provides the following:

  • Mouth Guards (if the athlete needs it)
  • Goodie Bag with the following items:
    • Tooth brush
    • Tooth paste
    • Chewing Gum

NOTE: Mouth guards and goodie bags will be provided while supplies last.

Current licensed psychologist, licensed counselor, licensed social worker who will provide our athlete free screening and provide educational material and tools to help our athletes cope with stress, anxiety, and thinking positive about themselves.

Strong Minds provided the following:

  • Stress Ball (educate our athletes on how to properly use the stress ball to manage stress and/or anxieties)
  • Pin Wheel (educate our athletes on how to properly use the Pin Wheel to manage anxieties)

For More Information

Contact your area office, or the Director of Field Services (Chapter office) at 1.800.876.5646 or dir_fs.chp@sotx.org.