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January 06, 2014 | North America: Florida

Special Olympics Is About More than Sports

By Lynn Aylward

"I Love to Eat"

Emmitt McCoy, a vibrant Miami man who has an intellectual disability and a set of broken dentures he can’t afford to replace, was profiled in the Miami Herald. McCoy’s story resonated deeply with Special Olympics Florida and Special Olympics International not just because he is a Special Olympics athlete but also because it sheds light on an all-too-common occurrence: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities get inferior healthcare — if and when they get it — even though most people believe the opposite. But Special Olympics is changing that. Its Healthy Athletes® program is an international endeavor through which healthcare volunteers give free dental, vision, hearing and other screenings. And Special Olympics Healthy Communities is an initiative that builds upon and broadens Healthy Athletes® to ensure better follow-up after screenings, plus year-round health support to athletes. See the response by Sherry Wheelock, Special Olympics Florida CEO, in the January 2 Herald.

About Lynn Aylward: I work on global health external relations for Special Olympics

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