Health Services for the Most Underserved
What if you could help 200 million people worldwide who suffer needlessly from chronic pain and disease, blindness and hearing loss, shortened life span, and other health conditions? That's what we do everyday!
At more than 1.2 million free health screenings in more than 100 countries, the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program has offered health services and information to athletes in dire need. In the process, Special Olympics has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.
Did You Know?
- Despite a mistaken belief that people with intellectual disabilities receive the same or better health care than others, they typically receive sub-standard care, or virtually no health care at all.
- Health Athletes has the world's largest database of health data for people with intellectual disabilities.
- Through Healthy Athletes, more than 100,000 health care professionals have been trained to treat people with intellectual disabilities. These health care professionals provide improved care to millions.
- Special Olympics has given out more than 90,000 pairs of prescription eyeglasses to athletes who needed them.
Miracles at Every Turn
Moise Ahoussimou, a poor West African boy with an intellectual disability and next to no vision, is one example. While volunteering at Healthy Athletes, a doctor realized Moise had been blinded by cataracts. He was referred for a simple operation, and Moise left his appointment with restored sight. He saw his father for the first time. “I can see." He grabbed his father’s hand. “Hey! Dad, I didn’t know you are that tall!”
Miracles like Moise’s happen at every screening. A volunteer dentist from California, USA saved athlete Dustin Plunkett's life by finding his mouth cancer. Mariam Zakhary of Egypt, fitted with a hearing aid, heard her language and her coach for the first time in her life. Stories like Mariam’s are inspiring nations like Egypt to expand their offerings to athletes. All Special Olympics Egypt athletes now receive medical exams and follow-up care.
At the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, thousands of athletes were screened by health care professionals who volunteered their time for more than a week. Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz
Seven Health Areas
Healthy Athletes currently offers health screenings in seven areas: 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).
Officially launched in 1997, Healthy Athletes organizes its events in a welcoming, fun environment. Its screenings educate athletes on healthy lifestyle choices and identify problems that may need additional follow-up.
For more information on Healthy Athletes, contact Karl Hejlik, Senior Manager, Health and Research Communciations, at +1 (202) 824-0308 or email@example.com.
Learn More about Healthy Athletes
Help us reach more people with intellectual disabilities and bring them the power of sport to build confidence and good health.
Are You a Health Professional?
Consider becoming a Healthy Athletes program volunteer. It's fun and can be life-changing.