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Nike to Provide 2000 Pairs of Shoes at European Games

Thanks to the generosity of one the world’s most recognized footwear manufacturer, athletes who attend the Healthy Athletes Fit Feet screening as part of Special Olympics in Warsaw, Poland in September will receive free sneakers.

Nike is one of the largest and most recognized maker of sports footwear in the world.

Proper footwear is often an issue for athletes. Preliminary findings show that 65% of Special Olympics athletes wear shoes of incorrect size. Improperly sized shoes may cause blisters, corns, callouses and hip and joint pain. Ulcerations are an additional concern for athletes who are also diabetic. "The ulceration can become infected," according to Pat Nunan, Fit Feet global clinical advisor. "Contractions may lead to hammertoes, bunions or other bone deformities.”

Nike's donation will allow Fit Feet volunteers to ensure participants are properly fitted and receive the best shoes for their specific sport and health needs.

“I’m convinced this will have repercussions during the games,” said Carine Haemels, Fit Feet clinical director in Belgium, who helped secure the donation. “In 2006 we had the opportunity to give away shoes, and the size mismatching, which was about 62% in years before, decreased to 27% in 2007 and 21% in 2008. This is the real proof that this changes the athletes’ lives.”