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Healthy Athletes

By listening to athletes at events and conducting research over many years, Special Olympics leaders have become aware of an alarming lack of quality health care for people with intellectual disabilities. Findings show that people with intellectual disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk for health issues, and that health care professionals are not trained in or experienced with caring for people with intellectual disabilities. The response by medical professionals and Special Olympics has been to provide Healthy Athletes programming at various events which offer free screenings and education for the athletes.  Learn more at the main Special Olympics, Inc. website .

Current Healthy Athletes Programs in North Carolina

  • FunFitness provides free screenings and education on balance, flexibility and strength are offered by physical therapists.
  • Health Promotions provides education and resources for healthy life choices including sun safety, tobacco cessation, and healthy diet.
  • Healthy Hearing offers free hearing screening and follow-up.
  • Opening Eyes conducts free vision screening and assistance to athletes in need of protective eye wear or even new glasses.
  • Special Smiles brings in dental hygienists and dentists to provide athletes with dental screenings, free toothbrushes, teeth cleaning tips and even mouth guards as needed!

Health Professionals Needed

SONC is always looking for qualified medical professionals to assist with current Healthy Athletes programming.

Additionally, Opening Eyes and Healthy Hearing are not currently available in North Carolina, but if you are a medical professional in either of these fields and are interested in getting it started in the state, you can contact

Scheduled Screenings

Several of the disciplines will be offered at the 2016 state-level Summer Games June 3-5 in Raleigh & Cary.