Healthy Athletes

Healthy Athletes is a worldwide health program through which Special Olympics volunteers and partners improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities and address health conditions such as chronic pain, disease, blindness, hearing loss, and shortened life span that needlessly affect this under-served population

Family Health Forum

Special Olympics is the world’s largest public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities and maintains the largest database of health information in existence. The Healthy Athletes Program is responsible for the training of more than 120,000 healthcare professionals in treating people with intellectual disabilities and conducting 1.3 million free health screening clinics in 120 countries.


Organized as part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, Family Health Forums are held to provide family members crucial information on caring for their loved ones with intellectual disabilities and give them the all-too-rare opportunity to ask questions of health care professionals and service providers.
Information regarding the Healthy Athletes program will be shared, along with strategies for staying healthy.


This event will be of interest to person's with intellectual disabilities, their families, service providers and health care providers.


Thursday, June 15, 2017


6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Special Olympics South Dakota (SOSD) Headquarters (Unify Center)
900 E. I-90 Lane, Sioux Falls, SD 57104


Michelle Boadwine, RN - SOSD Clinical Director, Health Promotion
Samantha Hynes, MSW, MPH - Division of Developmental Disabilities
Emily Johnson, RN - Division of Developmental Disabilities
Julie Johnson-Dresbach, Resource Coordinator - Division of Developmental Disabilities


This event is free of charge.  Pre-registration not required but appreciated

Register & Info:

Johna Thum
Vice President - Field Services
Special Olympics South Dakota
Email: jthum@sosd.org

Registration Deadline: June 9, 2017

What Makes Up Healthy Athletes?

There are seven Healthy Athlete screening areas:



Under the Fit Feet program, volunteer health care professionals screen athletes' feet and ankles for deformities, skin, and nail problems, and also check for proper shoes and socks.  Clinicians make community referrals as needed and athletes, coaches, and families are educated on the proper shoes and socks.

Clinician Requirements: Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

Currently offered by SOSD
This is the comprehensive physical therapy component of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative.  FUNfitness is designed to assess and improve flexibility, stamina, functional strength and balance, educate participants, families, and coaches about the importance of flexibility, strength, and balance, and provide a hands-on opportunity for participants to learn about physical therapy.

Clinician Requirements: Licensed Physical Therapist

Currently offered by SOSD
Perhaps the basis of all components of Special Olympics Healthy Ahtletes, Health Promotion seeks to find the best ways to convey and reinforce key concepts and information to participants.  Health Promotion venues empower and motivate athletes to make healthy lifestyle choices that will improve their long-term health by using interactive educational games and literature.  Athletes are offered guides for healthy eating, sun safety, smoking cessation, lifestyle choices, and fun ways to increase physical fitness.

Clinician Requirements: Dietician, Physician, Nurse, PT, Health Educator

Currently offered by SOSD 
The purpose of Healthy Hearing is to screen the hearing of athletes and notify athletes and their coaches if follow-up care is needed.  Healthy Hearing venues may also provide corrective (hearing aids) and preventative (custom swim earplugs) services where possible, and study the prevalence of hearing loss in athletes competing in Special Olympics events.

Clinician Requirements: Audiologist or Speech-Language Pathologist

Currently offered by SOSD 
At a Special Smiles screening, Special Olympics athletes are provided with hygiene education, a "goody-bag" containing toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, nutritional education, and a free mouth guard.

Clinician Requirements: Licensed Dentist or Dental Hygienist

Currently offered by SOSD 
The mission of Special Olympics - Lions Club International Opening Eyes is to improve the quality of life for the millions of individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities by health and visual skills through quality eye care.  Under the Opening Eyes program, extensive vision screenings are conducted.  Athletes are then provided with free prescription eye glasses, sport wear glasses, and sunglasses as warranted.

Clinician Requirements:  Vision Care Professional, Licensed Optometrist or Ophthamologist
 Medfest is a screening program that facilitates the required standard sports physical examination for current and prospective Special Olympics athletes.

Clinician Requirements: Medical Doctor, Physician



 We currently conduct, Fit Feet, FUNfitness, Healthy Hearing, Health Promotion, and Special Smiles clinics during our State Summer Games. We are actively working toward offering screenings in all seven Healthy Athlete areas.

Interested in getting involved with Healthy Athletes please contact Johna Thum at 605.331.4117 or jthum@sosd.org

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