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European Union Grants Funds to Healthy Athletes

December 16, 2013

Significant funds from the European Union for the expansion of Special Olympics' health care services across Europe will help support one of the world's most medically underserved disability groups.


Early Childhood Intervention

Special Olympics is pleased to announce that it has received significant funding of Euro 150,000 from the European Union (EU) under the second program of community action in the field of health. 

This grant will mean the European expansion of the organisation’s vital Healthy Athletes program, which provides healthcare services and support, early childhood intervention, and preventative education to people with intellectual disabilities.

The grant funding will provide for more free health screenings at Special Olympics games and competitions taking place on a daily basis across the region as well as early childhood intervention, and preventative education to children with intellectual disabilities aged 2-7 years old.

”The European Union’s support of the expansion of the Special Olympics’ health program across Europe will provide more children with special needs in particular with access to important health care screenings ensuring better health and wellbeing. By working with Special Olympics, the European Union is addressing inequality and promoting a more just and equal society for everyone regardless of abilities or disabilities.” says Member of Parliament for Ireland, Liam Aylward.

The goal of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes is to achieve improved health outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities with the ultimate aim of ensuring that all are receiving health services and are able to reach their full potential both on and off the sports field. The EU grant will not only expand services to more athletes, but will allow for the collection of comprehensive health data that will support parents and families, inform EU policy decisions and promote awareness of health difficulties that people with intellectual disabilities often face.

“People with intellectual disabilities are one of the largest and most medically underserved disability groups in the world” says Mary Davis, Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia. “In our health program for athletes, we often find significant preventable and treatable conditions that have gone undetected and unaddressed. People with intellectual disabilities experience dramatically higher rates of preventable disease, chronic pain and premature deaths in every country around the world. Support from the European Union empowers us to transform lives.”

Special Olympics Europe Eurasia provides year-round sports training and competition to more than half a million athletes with intellectual disabilities in 58 countries across Europe and Central Asia.

More information on Special Olympics and the Healthy Athlete programme is available on www.specialolympic


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