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 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 Lynn Erickson, (lerickson@specialolympics.org), Department Administrator and Program Manger, Health.


Healthy Athletes News and Stories


January 15, 2016 | North America: Virginia

Virginia's Third Medfest

By Karoline Seekford

VCU Dental Students (Karoline Seekford and NajJar Reham)

Medfest is a one day event that provides free medical exams for more than 100 Richmond students with intellectual disabilities.View Story Medfest is a one day event that provides free medical exams for more than 100 Richmond students with intellectual disabilities. This event gives the students the potential to be cleared for sports participation, while also diagnosing these students with previously undiagnosed disorders, educating them about their health, and teaching those professionals volunteering their time how to treat people with disabilities. Special Olympics Medfest 2015: This year I had the pleasure of working with the great people of Special Olympics, and VCU Medical College of Virginia, to provide free oral screenings for these students. There were more than 10 students, residents, and faculty of VCU dental at the event volunteering their time. We welcomed these students to the event providing them with oral screenings, educating them on their brushing and flossing, and with the help from Special Olympics, we were able to give each kid a Shrek electric toothbrush (which you can imagine they were extremely happy about). This has been by far my favorite event while attending dental school. I have always been very passionate about volunteering my time with Special Olympics since attending Virginia Tech. I spent every Thursday night bowling with the athletes of the Blacksburg/Christiansburg area. While I know I was volunteering to help them, I have always felt that I have gained more from the experience than anything else. No matter how my week was going, I left every Thursday night with a smile on my face. I am extremely happy that we have been able to expand this very special and exciting event to include oral health. This event would not have been possible without the support of the VCU Dental Pediatric Department, Special Care Interest Group, the VCU Marketing Department, Psi Omega Fraternity, the SO Urban Director Floyd Miller, and the Medfest Coordinator Priya Chandan.

About Karoline Seekford :I am currently a second year VCU Dental student and a 2014 graduate of Virginia Tech. I was raised in Berryville, VA, a small town in Northwest Virginia. I have been involved with Special Olympics for a number of years now and I am very honored that I have been able to be a part of the Medfest event.
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January 12, 2016 | Europe Eurasia: Italy

Special Olympics Italy Joins Forces with Department of Health

By Claudia Cofani

The Department of Health in Italy and Special Olympics have signed a protocol of agreement for the safeguard of the health and promotion of the well being of people with intellectual disabilities.View Story The Department of Health in Italy and Special Olympics have signed a protocol of agreement for the safeguard of the health and promotion of the well-being of people with intellectual disabilities. The milestone of this protocol is a partnership agreement to identify ways to work together in monitoring and supporting the health of the population of people with intellectual disability. Another goal of the agreement is to coordinate communication efforts and campaigns to build awareness in communities in order to destroy stereotypes and prejudices toward people with intellectual disabilities. The protocol will promote, in favour of people with intellectual disabilities, actions and initiatives aiming to support dynamic life styles and stimulating physical and motor-sports based activities. Particular attention will be paid to very early childhood, though the partnership will support physical and mental well being together with social inclusion in every phase of life and for all ability levels.

About Claudia Cofani:I work for Special Olympics Italia.
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December 29, 2015 | East Asia: China

Dr. Stefan Schwarz, the Global Clinical Director of Special Olympics Kicked Off “Opening Eyes” Clinical Director Train the Trainer Workshop in China

By SOEA

The annual symposium of ophthalmology in Zhejiang Province provided an opportunity for the first standalone Special Olympics “Opening Eyes” Clinical Director Train the Trainer workshop in China.View Story The annual symposium of ophthalmology in Zhejiang Province provided an opportunity for the first standalone Special Olympics “Opening Eyes” Clinical Director Train the Trainer workshop in China. Nearly 30 ophthalmological specialists stood out from 500 delegates participated in the training. Dr. Stefan Schwarz, the Global Clinical Director of Special Olympics made the special trip to China to conduct the training. Thanks to the strong support from Special Olympics China, Zhejiang Disabled Persons' Federation, Wenzhou Medical University and Alcon Foundation, we engaged more medical professionals for Special Olympics health programs. During the event, the Special Olympics Health Program presentation had attracted attentions from about 500 experts in such a large-scale professional ophthalmological conference. Our Special Olympics Global Clinical Directors had also received international certification successfully. Regional president of Lions Club International, Mr. Jiang Weiqiang also met with Special Olympics healthcare consultants from around the world.

About SOEA:I am a Special Olympics staff
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