The Healthy Athletes program is an initiative developed by Special Olympics Incorporated with a mission of improving the overall health of our athletes through various health screenings. This is a wonderful program that offers our athletes the opportunity to improve their health in an environment that is focused on the needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Thanks to the friendship of Missouri health professionals, the following screenings have been offered to SOMO athletes free of charge.
"People with intellectual disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk for health issues, and health care professionals are not trained in or experienced with caring for people with intellectual disabilities."
- Special Olympics, Incorporated
Dentists and hygienists provide one-on-one instruction on proper tooth brushing techniques, an oral health screening using tongue blades and flashlights (no treatment is given), and information on the value of nutrition in maintaining good oral health. Thanks to the Missouri Dental Association.
Physical Therapists assess and record information about flexibility, functional strength and balance. They test flexibility of the hamstring, calf, anterior hip and shoulder rotator muscles; functional strength of the abdominal and leg muscles and balance. Thanks to the Missouri Physical Therapy Association.
A screening to detect any hearing problems. Conducted by trained audiologists, this screening will alert the athlete to any hearing loss.
The Health Spot
Learn from personal trainers one-on-one! Athletes and coaches will be able to work with trainers on fitness equipment and weights. An area will also be available to improve eye and hand coordination.
An overall health check: bone density test to detect osteoporosis, test to detect diabetes and body mass measurements. Health Promotions will teach athletes and coaches how to make healthy choices. Also includes tobacco cessation and sun safety.
Complete eye exam by doctors of optometry. At the end of the screening, athletes will get a FREE pair of prescription eyeglasses or designer sunglasses.
MedFest is a screening program that facilitates the required standard sports physical examination for current and prospective Special Olympics athletes. Special Olympics Missouri requires that all athletes who want to participate must be examined by a physician or trained medical professional who completes the “medical certification” section of the Athlete Registration Form.
With the help of local volunteer health care professionals, MedFest provides thousands of people with intellectual disabilities the chance to participate in year-round Special Olympics sports training and athletic competition. The physical examinations at MedFest are conducted by volunteer medical professionals and are free to current and prospective athletes. Exams include: registration and assessments of medical history; height and weight; blood pressure; cardiovascular; abdominal; musculoskeletal evaluation; and check-out/referral for follow-up care. MedFest exams also address questions and concerns of athletes’ parents and guardians.