Athletes get their health fix along with their basketball fix

May 11, 2018 Blog

The volunteers of Special Smiles at the 2018 Indoor Sports Tournament

The volunteers of Special Smiles at the 2018 Indoor Sports Tournament

Healthy Athletes continued its successful run at the Indoor Sports Tournament in Oshkosh on April 7, 2018 where hundreds of athletes were screened in Special Smiles, Healthy Hearing, Opening Eyes or Funfitness free of charge.

Healthy Athletes screenings are available to any SOWI athlete with a medical on file, even if they’re not participating in the tournament during which the screenings are held. At IST, 36 SOWI athletes who were not participating in the basketball tournament were screened in one of the four disciplines offered.

Many athletes also received a Special Olympics Health medal for attending three of the four stations. 171 athletes received Opening Eyes exams, 157 athletes went through Special Smiles and 129 completed Healthy Hearing exams in Gruenhagen Conference Center on UW-Oshkosh’s campus. 80 athletes also did Funfitness screenings in the Kolf Center with physical therapists to identify needs and help athletes improve flexibility, strength, balance and aerobic condition.

The Healthy Athletes screenings are an important source of medical care for SOWI athletes. For example, in Special Smiles, 131 athletes were fitted for mouth guards and 87 had a flouride varnish applied to help prevent tooth decay. But the screenings are also critically important for the ability to refer athletes for additional treatment. 50 athletes were referred from Healthy Hearing, while 6 in Funfitness and 8 in Special Smiles were referred for additional care.

Among the many success stories of Healthy Athletes, a few Special Smiles patients stand out for having immediate dental issues identified and plans put in place to address them. Athlete Jerry Joyce had decay and three fractured teeth. With the help of SOWI staff, he now has an appointment scheduled with a dentist. Athlete Billy Frank didn’t have a local dentist and was found to have two extractions needed. SOWI staff was able to find some nearby clinics he has access to and now he has an appointment scheduled as well. Kenneth Dowling also had a fractured tooth and decay and his dentist had retired and he hadn’t found a new one yet. With the help of SOWI staff, dentists accepting new patients in his area were located.

These are just a few of the many success stories to come from IST. There will be many more to come at the next Healthy Athletes during the Summer Games in Stevens Point in June. Even if you’re not competing in the Summer Games, if you’re an athlete with an up-to-date medical, you can be one of the next success stories at Summer Games Healthy Athletes!

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