The Special Olympics team around the world works to integrate health into Special Olympics sports, families and youth programming; to develop and introduce regionally-specific health programming; and to strengthen linkages with community care networks and other local partners who can support the health and well-being of Special Olympics athletes year-round.
Special Olympics Wisconsin’s health program improves access to health care for athletes through free event-based screenings and educational initiatives. With nearly 1,800 free health screenings provided annually, Special Olympics Wisconsin has emerged as a leading public health organization for people with intellectual disabilities.
Developed in 2001, Special Olympics Wisconsin’s health programs were created to improve athletes’ ability to train and compete in sports, and make referrals to local health practitioners when appropriate. Our initiatives also work to train health care professionals and students about the needs and care of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
The everyday health of all of our athletes is of the utmost importance and we strive to provide them with the screenings, resources and information that can help them lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives. With mounting statistics that tell us that people with intellectual disabilities often do not receive adequate health care, on top of growing obesity rates, our work in health programming is more important now than ever before.
“More athletes, like Heather, are becoming health advocates themselves, offering even greater health education impact directly with their peers.” – Judith Stych, clinical director for the Healthy Promotion program