Healthy Athletes

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Did you know that Special Olympics Louisiana offers free health examinations for our athletes? Healthy Athletes is a large part of our organization.  Our athletes are screened through Special Smiles, Healthy Hearing, Health Promotion, Fit Feet, Fun Fitness, and Opening Eyes.  Our athletes are screened, free of charge, at our state competitions.  Athletes also receive a “goody” bag for Special Smiles and Health promotion filled with lots of great tools to keep up the good work! Come out and find the booth at our State Games!

Click here for more information.

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World Health Day

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As people across the globe recognize World Health Day today, Special Olympics will begin expanded health programming for people with intellectual disabilities, a population that lacks access to adequate healthcare and faces significant health disparities. This new programming is made possible through a $25-million commitment to Special Olympics from the Golisano Foundation. Special Olympics’ is working toward the tipping point for inclusive health for people with intellectual disabilities.

 

People with intellectual disabilities are part of one of the largest and most medically undeserved disability groups in the world. Millions with intellectual disabilities lack access to quality health care and experience dramatically higher rates of preventable disease, chronic pain and suffering, and premature death in every country around the world. In developing and developed countries alike, people with intellectual disabilities are consistently one of the most marginalized population subsets – a status that comes with horrific health outcomes. A 2013 United Kingdom study found that people with intellectual disabilities were more than twice as likely to die before the age of 50 than the general population. Barriers that contribute to this include stigma and discrimination, insufficient or lack of health care provider training, over-attributing symptoms to a particular condition which results in conditions being untreated and undiagnosed, limited prevention education reaching this population, limited self-advocacy, cultural beliefs, increased poverty and poor enforcement of laws and policy to protect this population. For example, one Special Olympics study found that 52 percent of medical school deans and 56 percent of students reported that graduates were “not competent” to treat people with intellectual disabilities.

Over the past 19 years Special Olympics has grown to become the largest global public health organization specifically focused on people with intellectual disabilities. Led by the Golisano Foundation’s support, and that of other organizations globally and locally including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Special Olympics is making strides for ensuring inclusive health and working with corporations, organizations, universities, hospitals, and health care professionals to do more to ensure people with intellectual disabilities are not excluded from the health care systems within their communities.

Since 1997, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, also supported by Golisano, has been providing free examinations and education for people with intellectual disabilities across the areas of audiology, dentistry, health promotion, optometry physical exams, physical therapy and podiatry. The award-winning Healthy Athletes program and the more than 135,000 health care professionals trained on the specific health care concerns of people with intellectual disabilities have provided more than 1.6 million free examinations to Special Olympics athletes worldwide in more than 130 countries. Now, Special Olympics Programs are working toward a focus on year-round inclusive health programming – called Healthy Communities – that takes the tenets of the Healthy Athletes events and includes them into year-round programming opportunities for athletes. Special Olympics Program is working toward recognition as a Healthy Community.

One Sole Purpose

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Yesterday, the Finish Line Youth Foundation donated new shoes to some very lucky SOLA athletes. Our athletes were invited in store to be hand fitted by the Finish Line team in Baton Rouge for a new pair of athletic shoes! Finish Line continues to help Special Olympics athletes stay fit for life and strive for their personal best! Thank you Finish Line!

Did you know?

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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.

Healthy Athletes currently offers health examinations 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). Healthy Athletes organizes its events in a welcoming, fun environment. Its exams educate athletes on healthy lifestyle choices and identify problems that may need additional follow-up.

For more information on our Healthy Athletes program, click here.

Finish Line Supports Special Olympics

As of November 7th andimage1634339 running through December 31st  over 600 Finish Line stores across the United States will fundraise for Special Olympics.

Customers will be asked to make donations at check-out to the Finish Line Youth Foundation.  This year the campaign will solely benefit Special Olympics! 

Not only is Finish Line running this promotion in store, they have also expanded thier shoe giveaways this year, by inviting 10 athletes in 40 cities to visit their local Finish Line stores and get fitted for a new pair of athletic shoes!

Our partner Finish Line continues to help Special Olympics athletes stay fit for life and strive for their personal best!

Make sure to stop in a Finish Line store and check it out!