In order for athletes to perform at their best, both on and off the playing field, we believe promoting a healthy life style to our athletes is critical to their success. The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities.  All screenings are free to the athletes and occur at specific competitions. 

On a typical Team of 10 Special Olympics Athletes:

•4 have untreated tooth decay  •1 needs urgent referral to a dentist  •4 need eyeglasses  •3 would fail a hearing test  •9 will have problems with flexibility or balance  •7 will be overweight or obese.

Why it Matters

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), despite the severe need and higher health risk, people with intellectual disabilities are denied health services, community interventions, and there is a lack of targeted interventions and programs for the population. Health care professionals who volunteer with Special Olympics have found that Special Olympics athletes are at increased risk of secondary health issues:

  • 37% have obvious, untreated tooth decay
  • 37% needed new eyewear prescription
  • 23% have low bone density
  • 26% failed hearing tests
  • 48% have at least one kind of skin or nail condition
  • 59% of adult and 30% of youth athletes are overweight or obese

Special Olympics Health, made possible by the Golisano Foundation in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

What We Do For Health

Special Smiles
Creating great smiles and promoting dental hygiene.
Designed to assess and improve physical fitness
Healthy Promotion
Promoting overall health for our athletes
Strong Minds
Promoting confidence and calming techniques
Athletes can renew their athlete applications
Fit Feet
Athletes step lively on and off the playing field
Fit 5
Educate athletes on the importance of physical activity, nutrition and hydration