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.


Healthy Athletes’ influence is evident with more than 136,000 healthcare professionals trained, free health examinations provided to more than 1.6 million athletes, and 100,000 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. Healthy Athletes is part of Special Olympics' global health program.

For more information, contact Karl Hejlik, (, Director of Internal Communications.

Healthy Athletes News and Stories

October 19, 2016 | Africa: Senegal

Healthy Athlete screenings in Remote Senegal

By By Rajah Sy

Athlete Bakary Ba shows his Special Smile to Special Olympics Senegal National Director Rajah Diouri Sy and her team.

In celebration of EKS Day and the legacy of our movement’s founder, Special Olympics Senegal organized two Healthy Athlete screenings in remote districts of the country.View Story Special Olympics Senegal organized two Healthy Athlete screenings in remote districts of the country to celebrate EKS Day and the legacy of our movement’s founder. MedFest, Special Smiles and Health Promotion screenings resulted in 543 free consultations for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Kolda and Bignona, in the south of Senegal.  Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics in 1968. She led the world in pushing for rights and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Senegal found partners in this event, with Speak Up Africa who distributed 400 free mosquito nets which aid against malaria, and the Senegalese Organization for Development Support (OSAD) who translated health books where each screened athlete can access and track follow-up treatment. Valuable technical support in the form of transport, logistics and clinical volunteers was also provided by the partnership of the State Major General of the Senegalese Army. Diaw Diop, international singer who has composed two songs for Special Olympics Senegal, also joined in the EKS Day celebration activities as a volunteer.

About By Rajah Sy:I am the National Director of Special Olympics Senegal.
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September 15, 2016 | SOI General: Headquarters

Philanthropist Tom Golisano and Special Olympics Launch Global Health Leadership Awards

By Christy Weir

Tom Golisano, Founder of the Golisano Foundation, and Ann Costello, Executive Director, visit a Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes clinic in Florida.

The Golisano Health Leadership Awards recognize individuals and organizations around the world who are improving the health of people with intellectual disabilities.View Story Special Olympics has launched the Golisano Health Leadership Awards to recognize the extensive work of individuals and organizations around the world who are improving the health of people with intellectual disabilities and advancing the year-round health work of Special Olympics. The awards will honor approximately 32 individuals or organizations around the world where Healthy Communities, the innovative global initiative launched by Special Olympics in 2012 and expanded in 2015 with gifts of $37 million from philanthropist and Paychex Chairman Tom Golisano, has been launched. Healthy Communities have been launched from Paraguay to Romania, South Africa to Thailand and Golisano’s home states of Florida and New York. Of those honorees, 7 recipients from Special Olympics‘ 7 regions around the world, will be selected to receive the global award, which will be announced at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria in March 2017. “The Golisano Health Leadership Award is Special Olympics highest honor for health partners and individuals,” said Mary Davis, Special Olympics CEO. “It is important to recognize the growing number of health champions at the community, regional and global levels who are working so tirelessly to promote inclusive health for people with intellectual disabilities. We also hope to encourage others who are in a position to do the same and help us raise global understanding of the health disparities experienced by people with intellectual disabilities. Through the growth and success of Healthy Communities, the Golisano name is becoming synonymous with improving health disparities and increasing access to quality care - from remote towns to major cities in all corners of the world.“ To read more about the significance of these awards, please read a Huffington Post blog from Ann Costello, Executive Director for the Golisano Foundation at the link below.

About Christy Weir:I am the Director of Global Media and Public Relations for Special Olympics.
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September 07, 2016 | North America: District of Columbia

Special Olympics Wisconsin and Partners Keep Athletes Smiling

By Charita Boseman

Special Smiles can make a huge difference in the lives of Special Olympics athletes.View Story The Special Smiles program can make a huge difference in the lives of Special Olympics athletes. At a recent event in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Dental Association partnered with Special Olympics to help athletes with urgent dental needs get the caring attention they deserve.

About Charita Boseman:Special Olympics Special Smiles Manager Submitting on behalf of Special Olympics Wisconsin
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