Special Olympics Kentucky has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the Anthem Foundation to help fund Special Olympics Kentucky Healthy Athletes activities in 2013. The grant will help fund the Healthy Athletes Wellness Village at the 2013 State Summer Games in Richmond and the 2013 MedFest event in Lexington, as well as new Healthy Athletes screenings that will be held in conjunction with the 2013 State Basketball Tournament, which will be held March 8-10 at Hoops in Louisville.
Special Olympics Healthy Athletes programs provide a number of screenings to Special Olympics Athletes and others with intellectual disabilities. Screenings include vision, dental, hearing and physical therapy screenings and screenings for foot problems. At MedFest events, athletes and potential athletes also receive sports physicals which meet the requirements to participate in Special Olympics competitions.
All screenings are provided by medical professionals – doctors, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and other specialists – who volunteer their time and who receive training to be able to best meet the needs of the Special Olympics population.
“Our Healthy Athletes Program is so important to our athletes and their families,” said Trish Mazzoni, Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO. “Studies show that people with intellectual disabilities are one of the most underserved populations when it comes to health care. In some cases it’s because of access. In some cases it’s because of communications issues and unfortunately in some cases it’s still because people with intellectual disabilities just aren’t afforded the same quality of care that others receive. Healthy Athletes bridges that gap for our athletes and their families. We are thrilled to have received this grant from the Anthem Foundation to continue and expand this important work.”
”Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has been working to increase access to health care and improve the health of Kentuckians ever since it was founded 75 years ago," said Anthem President Deb Moessner. “On behalf of our 1,200 employees across the state, we are thrilled to join Special Olympics Kentucky in our anniversary year to positively impact the lives and health of the athletes and their families.”
Healthy Athletes Programs got their start in Kentucky in 1997 with the first Special Smiles (dental) screenings, and the program has grown nearly every year since. Last year, Healthy Athletes programs served more than 500 athletes and potential athletes at the State Summer Games and MedFest.
The Anthem Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit foundation. Through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families across Kentucky. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth-weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation.