Healthy Athletes changes the course for Special Olympians

Interactions with Special Olympics athletes lead to referrals back into the health care system.

In 1997, the creation of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program forever changed the course for health for individuals with intellectual disabilities around the globe.

Since its inception, Healthy Athletes has been providing free health screenings and education for people with intellectual disabilities in the fields of Fit Feet (podiatry), FUNfitness (physical therapy), Health Promotion (better health and well-being), Healthy Hearing (audiology), Special Olympics-Lions Club International Opening Eyes (vision), Special Smiles (dentistry), and Strong Minds (mental training).

Through Healthy Athletes, health care professionals receive training about the specific health care concerns of people with intellectual disabilities and learn how to ask the right questions, helping to draw out issues. Their interactions with Special Olympics athletes lead to referrals back into the health care system that ensures the individuals will get the treatment they need.

RELATED: Pioneers build the foundation of Special Olympics

RELATED: Vernon’s Special Olympics BC Winter Games will be biggest ever

Since 1997, Healthy Athletes has delivered more than two million free health screenings globally and distributed more than 110,000 free pairs of prescription eyewear. Special Olympics now maintains the largest dataset on the health of people with intellectual disabilities.

Through data collected, we can now see that people with intellectual disabilities, worldwide and right here in Canada, face significant health challenges largely stemming from a lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and inadequate access to quality health care.

It is for this reason that Special Olympics is so focused on providing opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to get involved in a sport. With the right supports and opportunities, people with intellectual disabilities can live longer, healthier lives.

From Feb. 21 to 23, 2019, Greater Vernon will play host to the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games. These Games are much more than just a sporting event. They provide the motivation for many individuals with intellectual disabilities to train year-round in their community.

Coaches will encourage athletes to eat better so that they can perform better, and they will work with athletes on living a healthier lifestyle.

There will also be Healthy Athlete Screenings offered at the Games. Anyone with an intellectual disability, whether an athlete competing in the Games or someone who is not currently registered in a Special Olympics program, can access these health screenings at the Games for free.

The Games in Greater Vernon are important: not just to see who can win a gold, silver, or bronze medal, but as a catalyst for better health. Visit www.sobcgamesvernon.ca for information on how you can get involved, or to learn more about the Games.

Just Posted

Art After Dark may spark romance in Vernon

Vernon Public Art Gallery makes art accessible through alt-date night

‘Fuel Good Day’ pumps funds for local causes in the Okanagan

10 cents of every litre pumped at the Regional Co-ops on Tuesday was donated to non-profits

16 pot shops green-lighted by Vernon politicians

More recreational cannabis stores could be sprouting in town soon

Fines urged for owners who let their Vernon property go to ‘Sh**sville’

In dealing with former Legion building, city looking at options

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

‘This is not a drill’: Whistler Blackcomb gets first snowfall of the season

The 7th Heaven Summit had a dusting of snow Tuesday morning

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of top managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

Summerland cadet earns glider wings

Summer training program was held at CFB Comox on Vancouver Island

$13 million Kelowna cannabis facility deal terminated

GTEC Holdings did not give a reason for the purchase’s cancellation

Arrest made after fourth threat closes a Kamloops high school in nine days

Mounties have been chasing down a series of threats made to schools across Kamloops

West Kelowna motorcyclist awarded $132K for traffic accident

Supreme Court of British Columbia finds pickup truck driver liable for motorcylist’s injuries

Most Read