Study after study shows that people with intellectual disabilities face a number of barriers to receiving adequate health care. Whether it revolves around communication problems or providers not trained in how to treat people with special needs, it can be very difficult for people with intellectual disabilities to receive a quality of care that matches that of their peers who do not have intellectual disabilities.
Every athlete knows that it is impossible to compete at their peak performance level with nagging injuries, ongoing pain or the wrong equipment.
With its Healthy Athletes program, Special Olympics bridges this gap between accessible health care and peak athletic performance by providing free screenings in a number of health disciplines – Opening Eyes (vision), Special Smiles (dental), Fit Feet (foot health) and FunFitness (physical therapy, balance and flexibility). Screenings are provided by trained volunteer healthcare workers during Special Olympics Kentucky’s State Summer Games.
We know how busy Summer Games weekend is for our coaches and our athletes. But the Healthy Athletes wellness Village provides a unique and important opportunity for your athletes to address possibly pressing physical issues. We hope you will consider taking some time on Saturday of the State Summer Games to get your athletes to the screenings (near Olympic Town). The results could benefit your athletes not only from an overall health standpoint, but could also go a long way toward improving their athletic performance.
Here’s a list of what’s available during the Summer Games and how it can benefit your athletes.
All Screenings will be Saturday, June 2 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
OPENING EYES -
(Auxiliary Gym of Alumni Coliseum)
Provides extensive vision and eye health tests for athletes
- Refractive testing for those requiring further screening
- Prescription eyeglasses, if needed
- Prescription protective sport eyewear, if appropriate
- Referral advice for follow-up care
Did you know that 33% of the athletes screened fail their eye health screening? 65% of the athletes screened had not been examined in 3 years. And approximately 37% of athletes screened need glasses or protective eyewear.
SPECIAL SMILES (Olympic Town tent)
- Oral Screenings
- Oral health education and personal preventive products
- Information concerning needed follow-up care
Did you know that 35% of the athletes that were screened had untreated dental decay? 50% of athletes screened had signs of gingivitis. And 12% of the athletes screened are not in an active dental plan.
FIT FEET (Auxiliary Gym of Alumni Coliseum)
- Evaluate the skin, nails, bones and joints of the feet
- Examine the function of the feet and gait
- Examine the shoes and socks of athletes
- Community referrals as needed
Did you know that 51% female and 59% male Special Olympics Athletes that are screened were wearing the wrong size shoe? 25% of athletes screened had ingrown toenails and 11% had athlete’s foot.
FUNFITNESS (Olympic Town tent)
Did you know that 58% of the athletes screened needed improved balance? 15% needed improved flexibility and 20% needed improved strength?
- Assesses and improve flexibility, functional strength and balance
- Assessment of aerobic fitness
- Educates in home exercises to improve performance
- Provides simple exercise tools
- Facilitates community referrals as needed