People with intellectual disabilities have a right to health care. A person with a disability is not an inherently unhealthy person. Their health status is affected by genetics, social circumstance, environment, individual behavior, and health care access. 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.
Why it Matters:
Due to this magnitude of health barriers, people with intellectual disabilities have poorer health than the general population. Health care professionals who volunteer with Special Olympics have found that Special Olympics athletes are at increased risk of secondary health issues.
What We Do:
Special Olympics is the world’s largest public health organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities, providing access to free health services for a population with significant, unmet health needs.
Special Olympics Colorado focuses on preventive health care. Using evidence based interventions, we work to promote health behavior change through health education, goal setting, athlete leadership, trainings, and health screenings. We provide accessible information, resources, changes to systems and policies at the individual and community level that support sustainable healthy and productive lives for our athletes.
Take a look at our current health programs:
Healthy LEAP (Lifestyle Education And Practice) is a series of health, nutrition, fitness, safety and injury prevention lessons and practical applications created specifically for youth and adults with and without intellectual disabilities. Each lesson includes specific tasks and activities to jump start the practice of a healthy lifestyle. Click here learn more.
Through the Healthy Athletes Program, Special Olympics Colorado athletes receive free screenings in a fun, welcoming environment that removes the anxiety and fear individuals with ID often experience when faced with a visit to the doctor or dentist. Our mission is to improve each athlete’s health and fitness, leading to enhanced sports experience and improved well-being. Click here to learn more.
Special Olympics Colorado has a goal of bringing fitness and wellness programming to every team in the state. The newly formed Fitness Captain Program teaches athlete leaders how to successfully lead their peers in nutrition, fitness, and healthy lifestyle behaviors. Click here to learn more.
Upcoming Healthy Athletes Events
- FREE SPORTS PHYSICALS – March 30, 2019 at Rocky Vista University.
- SPECIAL SMILES – Southeast Spring Games – May 4, 2019 at Fountain Ft. Carson H.S.
- SPECIAL SMILES – Denver Region Track and Field – May 11, 2019 at Rangeview H.S.
- OPENING EYES, SPECIAL SMILES, HEALTHY HEARING, FUN FITNESS, HEALTH PROMOTION, FIT FEET – Summer Games – June 8, 2019 at Colorado Mesa University.
- FUN FITNESS (Physical therapy) – Southeast Summer Classic – July 13, 2019 at Memorial Park, Colorado Springs.
Please note you can attend healthy athlete screenings even if you’re not participating in the event. Thank you to all of our Health Partners and Sponsors for making our health programming possible!
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click here.