Healthy Athletes Resources

The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities.


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Healthy Athletes’ influence is evident with more than 120,000 healthcare professionals trained, free health screenings provided to nearly 1.4 million athletes, and 90,000 free pairs of eyeglasses given to athletes. Healthy Athletes continues to grow each year with help from a global network of volunteers, in-kind donations and other financial support.

For more information, contact Lynn Erickson (lerickson@specialolympics.org), Manager, Health Communications.


Healthy Athletes News and Stories


September 16, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Ireland

Irish Athletes Get Checked Out At Healthy Athletes Program

By Fiona Hynes

Carrie Doyle getting the once over at the Healthy Athletes Program as part of 2014 European Games

While the focus of the 2014 European is very much on sporting activity, athletes are also being encouraged to avail of the fantastic services available as part of the Healthy Athletes program.View Story While the focus of the 2014 European Games is very much on sports, athletes are also getting free health screening checks from more than 300 medical professional volunteers as part of the Healthy Athletes Program. Team Ireland athlete Carrie Doyle was certainly making the most of the Program which aims to improve every athlete’s health and fitness in order to enhance their ability to train and compete and ultimately to improve the athlete’s well-being in daily life. 26 year old Carrie from Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, who is a table-tennis athlete, took the opportunity to get a check-up from the dedicated medical volunteers working at the Games. All participating athletes have access to free health check services in seven clinical disciplines. Fit Feet (podiatry), FUNfitness (physical therapy), Health Promotion (better health and well-being), Healthy Hearing (audiology), MedFest (sports physical exam), Opening Eyes (vision) and Special Smiles (dentistry). 

About Fiona Hynes:PR, Marketing & Communications Manager with Special Olympics Ireland
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September 15, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

Volunteers are also the stars of the Special Olympics European Games

By Ayla Colman

Melina Willems, coordinator Audiology at HAP

This week the athletes competing at the Special Olympics Summer Games are the stars of Antwerp but so too are the volunteers.View Story This week the athletes competing at the Special Olympics Summer Games are the stars of Antwerp but so too are the volunteers. Among the most important activity at Special Olympics Games is the Healthy Athletes program where athletes undergo free health screening checks from volunteer medical professionals. Medical professionals such as Melina Willems. Melina Willems from Belgium works as Coordinator of the audiology section of the Healthy Athletes screening. It started out as a hobby, but later it “escalated a little” said Melina. She got in touch with Special Olympics through her work and then she was hooked. Today she’s helping at the Games for almost fifteen years at National, European and International Special Olympics games. “I love this job so much because the athletes can be so disarming. One of my volunteering T-shirts shows the slogan ‘It’s voluntary, but addictive’. It is so true. It’s a lot of work, but once you’re here, you don’t feel like you’re at work anymore."

About Ayla Colman:I am a volunteer at the European Special Olympics as a reporter at the media centre
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September 14, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

Antwerp 2014 Addresses Epidemic of Neglect & Injustice

By Maureen Rabbitt

"Let's get healthy" shouted Tim Shriver as he cut the ribbon with Gonzalez Stubbe, Lions International Club and Dutch athlete Rob Bakker.

Powerful words that were delivered today by Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, to the hundreds of medical volunteers before the opening of the Healthy Athlete Village at the Special Olympics European Summer Games in Antwerp, Belgium.View Story “Through your work over the next 7 days you are responding to the epidemic of neglect and injustice in the healthcare system for people with intellectual disabilities” – Powerful words that were delivered today by Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International to the hundreds of medical volunteers before the opening of the Healthy Athlete Village at the Special Olympics European Summer Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Over the course of the Game these volunteers will provide free health screening to nearly all of the 2,000 athletes from 58 countries competing in the Games. The screenings will include podiatry, physical therapy, audiology, vision, dentistry and health promotion. Dutch athlete Rob Bakker also spoke to the athletes present encouraging them to avail of the health screenings: “By staying healthy you will become a better athlete” he said. The occasion also saw the signing of a MOU between Special Olympics and the International Federation of Podiatry.

About Maureen Rabbitt:I am responsible for Communications & Branding at Special Olympics Europe Eurasia.
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