Special Olympics is the world’s largest public health organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), providing access to free health services for a population with significant, unmet health needs.
Through the Healthy Athletes® program, Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes receive free screenings in a fun, welcoming environment that removes the anxiety and fear individuals with ID often experience when faced with a visit to the doctor or dentist. Our mission is to improve each athlete’s health and fitness, leading to enhanced sports experience and improved well-being.
Benefits to Athletes
Statistics show that individuals with ID often do not receive the health care attention they need. Our impact on the health and well-being of our athletes is significant, in some cases life-saving, by discovering unknown health issues or providing health care that otherwise would not have been available.
Our ultimate goal is to improve each athlete’s ability to train and compete in Special Olympics as well as succeed in life.
Healthy Athletes provides basic health care screenings and testing to SOWI athletes at no cost.
Any SOWI athlete who has a valid medical form on file is welcome to participate in the Healthy Athletes Program.
Health Care Providers
In addition to providing health services and education to SOWI athletes, Healthy Athletes is also changing the way health systems interact with individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Health care professionals and volunteers receive free training on the specific needs of individuals with ID, allowing them to return to their practices and classrooms with increased knowledge of and compassion for these patients.
A special thanks to the over 300 professional volunteers who make the Healthy Athletes events possible each year. Volunteers include dentists, dental hygienists, optometrists, opticians, audiologists, physical therapists, podiatrists, physicians, nurses, physical therapy assistants, pharmacists, health educators, students and nutritionists from all over the state.
Are you a health care professional? Consider becoming a Healthy Athletes program volunteer. It’s fun and can be life-changing. For volunteer opportunities contact Melissa Schoenbrodt, Director of Health Programs, for more information.