Healthy Athletes

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Presented by Dairy Farmers of Ontario


The Healthy Athletes (HA) initiative is a health screening and education program designed for people with Intellectual Disabilities. HA Screenings are offered in seven disciplines and are administered by volunteer health care providers. Launched in 1997, HA has made Special Olympics the largest health care provider for people with Intellectual Disabilities in the world.

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. 

The Invitational Youth Games is the first time all seven of our Healthy Athletes disciplines will be offered at once. Not only will athletes participating in the Games be able to access free health screening and education, but all people with an intellectual disability are able to take advantage!

Our screenings will take place all day on Wednesday May 15 and Thursday May 16 at one of three venues alongside our sport competitions (at the University of Toronto, Seneca College, and the International Centre).

click on the seven Disciplines Below to Find Out More!

Fit Feet


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Location: International Centre

Fit Feet offers podiatric screenings to evaluate ankles, feet, lower extremity biomechanics, and proper shoe and sock gear to participating athletes. Fit Feet helps Special Olympics athletes step lively on the playing field, and in everyday life.

FUNfitness


Location: University of Toronto, St. George Campus

FUNfitness is the physical therapy discipline of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes.  The event provides athletes the opportunity to be screened for hamstring and calf flexibility.  Other assessments include shoulder rotator and hip flexor muscles, functional strength of the abdominal and lower extremity muscles as well as balance. During these screenings physiotherapists and students work with athletes and coaches to improve optimal function in sports training and competition.  Athletes learn how to prevent injuries, and are recommended exercises and other helpful strategies to perform their best.


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Health Promotion


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Location: Seneca College, Newnham Campus

The Health Promotion discipline of Healthy Athletes provides athletes with valuable health information, of which a large component is dedicated to nutrition. Education provided to athletes focuses on ideas that athletes can implement into their daily routines and reinforces positive practices both on an off the playing field. Volunteers will have access to Special Olympics resources, which include educational boards and meal building exercises, and will work with athletes one-on-one, giving both participants a chance to learn from one another. There is also a focus on BMI, blood pressure and Bone Density

MedFest


Location: University of Toronto, St. George Campus

MedFest was created to offer the physical exam that all athletes need prior to participating in Special Olympics sports. Screenings assess blood pressure, temperature, pulse, height, weight, body mass index, vision, hearing, medical history, potential medication side effects and general physical health. It is sometimes the first exposure these athletes have to medical care.


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Opening Eyes


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Location: University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Opening Eyes provides a vision and eye health screening. The program is led by volunteer vision care professionals and offers free prescription eyewear, sunglasses, and sports goggles to participants.

Special Smiles


Location: International Centre

Special Smiles provides comprehensive oral health care information, including free dental screenings and instruction on correct brushing and flossing techniques to participating Special Olympics athletes and people with an Intellectual Disability. Participants are also provided with free preventative supplies like toothpaste and toothbrushes.


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Strong Minds


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Location: Seneca College, Newnham Campus

Strong Minds is an interactive learning activity focused on developing adaptive coping skills. Athletes learn about and try a few different active coping strategies as they move through the stations. Before exiting, athletes identify the strategies they like best and volunteers provide them with visual reminders to use these tools in competition and in daily life.

Questions About
Healthy Athletes?