The Healthy Athlete Programme is a programme where athletes receive a variety of health screenings and services in a series of clinics conducted in a welcoming and fun environment.
- Special Smiles: offering dental screening, health education and preventative services.
- Opening Eyes: conducts extensive vision screening including vision and eye health tests and may provide free prescription eyeglasses and prescription sports eye wear.
- Healthy Hearing: offering hearing screening and external ear examination for those with an identified need and may provide individual moulded swim plugs, referral and access to hearing aids.
- Fun Fitness: Physiotherapists providing education and on-site consultation to athletes and coaches how to train and compete safely.
- Health Promotion: Nutritionists, dieticians and other health care professionals educating athletes on elements of health including healthy eating, sun safety, bone health, tobacco cessation, etc.
- Fit Feet: Podiatrists screening athlete’s feet and ankles for deformaties and advice regarding proper shoes and socks.
The programme is delivered by health care professionals and health care students who volunteer their time and expertise to Special Olympics. They all take part in Special Olympics orientation training to gain a greater understanding of the health needs and abilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This programme is designed to help Special Olympics athletes improve their health and fitness by providing them with access to and advice on health care at Special Olympics Games. The screening clinics may make referrals or recommendations for follow up to local health care practitioners when appropriate. They may also be involved in collecting, analysing and dissemanating data on the health status and needs of people with an intellectual disability and adovocating for improved health policies and programmes for persons with an intellectual disability.