The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative is designed to help Special Olympics athletes improve their health and fitness. Developed in 1996, the mission of Healthy Athletes is to improve each athlete’s ability to train and compete in Special Olympics as well as life.

A person with a disability is NOT an inherently unhealthy person. Health status is affected by genetics, social circumstance, environment, individual behavior, and health care access.

The key objectives of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes are:

  • Improve access & health care for athletes at event-based and other clinics;

  • Make referrals & recommendations for follow-up to local health practitioners;

  • Train health care professionals, students, and others about needs and care of athletes;

  • Collect, analyze, and disseminate data on the health status and needs of athletes;

  • Advocate for improved health policies and programs for athletes.

The Special Olympics Indiana Healthy Athletes disciplines (clinical director in parenthesis):

Healthy Hearing (Carolyn Garner, MA, CCC-A, from Indiana University)

Opening Eyes (Steven Hitzeman, OD, from the IU School of Optometry)

Special Smiles (Karen Yoder, PhD, MSD, from IU School of Dentistry)

Health Promotion (Mary Ciccarelli, MD, from Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health)

Fit Feet (Kenneth Stumpf, DPM, Community Podiatry North and West)