The Special Olympics Healthy Communities initiative takes the principles of the Healthy Athletes program and expands them from a series of single events to a steady presence in the lives of our athletes and their families that includes a focus on follow-up care, wellness opportunities, access and education. Now, Healthy Communities is clearly demonstrating that health needs to remain a priority for the Special Olympics movement.
Special Olympics Programs in eight countries (Mexico, Peru, Romania, Malawi, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand and Kazakhstan) and six U.S. states (Arizona, Florida, Kansas, New Jersey, Wisconsin and New York) are official Healthy Communities.
Across the 14 locations, 65,747 Healthy Athletes exams have been held, with 16,274 in locations where Healthy Athletes have never been held before. To date since the pilot began, these Programs have trained 6,457 health advocates (family members, coaches, athlete leaders) on important, locally relevant health topics that they can use to educate others in their community. Additionally, more than 13,000 athletes participated in wellness opportunities and 3,000 athletes received follow-up care after a Healthy Athletes exam through Programs recognized as Healthy Communities.