Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Program will be offered at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024

As we gather in Calgary to witness the remarkable achievements and spirit of our Special Olympics athletes, we are equally committed to supporting their overall health and well-being. Special Olympics Healthy Athletes, a cornerstone program of our movement, offers essential health services and education for all participating athletes.


About Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Programs

The Healthy Athletes initiative is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes and aims to revolutionize the way health systems engage with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Through a combination of free health screenings, training for healthcare professionals and evaluation of the health status of people with an IDD, this program has been making a significant impact in communities across Canada. 


Healthy Athletes Screenings at Games

Complimentary screenings will be offered at Calgary Telus Convention Centre from February 28 - March 2: Healthy Athletes screenings will be available in 5 disciplines administered by volunteer healthcare providers throughout the duration of the Special Olympics Canada National Games Calgary 2024 (SOCWG Calgary).

SOCWG Calgary athletes: If you haven't already planned a visit to Healthy Athletes, we encourage you to discuss this opportunity with your coach or mission staff.


Opening Eyes: Vision Care 

The Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Foundation Opening Eyes program is changing lives in communities across the globe by providing comprehensive eye assessments, prescription eyewear, sunglasses, and sports goggles to Special Olympics athletes. After going through 12 testing stations, the exam information is reviewed, and a decision is made if the athlete needs a new pair of prescription glasses or sport goggles. Through the generosity of our corporate sponsors Essilor (lenses) and Safilo (frames), athletes choose from a selection of eye wear. Athletes who do not need any corrective lenses receive plano sunglasses also provided by Safilo.


Special Smiles: Oral Health

The Special Smiles discipline of Healthy Athletes provides comprehensive oral health care information, including offering free dental screenings and instructions on correct brushing and flossing techniques to participating Special Olympics athletes. Special Smiles has demonstrated remarkable success in creating awareness and improving access to dental care for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.


Strong Minds: Emotional Health

Strong Minds is an interactive learning activity focused on developing adaptive coping skills. Competition provides a natural opportunity to develop active strategies for maintaining emotional wellness under stress, such as: thinking positive thoughts, releasing stress, and connecting with others.


FUNfitness: Physical Health 

FUNfitness is a physical therapy event that addresses the ongoing health needs of Special Olympics athletes. FUNfitness provides athletes the opportunity to be examined for flexibility, functional strength, balance, and aerobic fitness. During these screenings, physical therapists, related health professionals, and students offer athletes expert guidance and exercise recommendations to prevent and reduce the risk of injury while working to improve the athletes’ optimal function not only in sports training and competition but in everyday life.


Health Promotion: Nutrition & Healthy Habits 

Health Promotion, a discipline of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes, focuses on healthy living, healthy lifestyle choices, and nation-specific health issues. In addition to health education activities, health Promotion offers screenings for bone density, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). Its goals include encouraging and enhancing healthy behaviors and improving self-efficacy and self-advocacy.