Healthy Athletes
Will Schermerhorn
Rosanna Jimenez, a Special Olympics Dominican Republic athlete, gets help with an eyeglass prescription. Dr Juan Francisco Valle Logiano guided her through the process.
Promoting Healthy Living Around the World

In 2018, Special Olympics continued to be the largest health care provider for people with intellectual disabilities through the Healthy Athletes program. Globally, 176,203 athletes participated in Healthy Athlete screenings. 87 countries offered health programming and 41,213 health providers and students were trained. There were 24 recognized Healthy Community programs with another 50 in progress.

  • Special Olympics crossed a major milestone of providing 2.1 million Healthy Athletes screenings around the world since its inception.
  • At the Special Olympics IX MENA Regional Games, a delegation of high-level United Nations agencies and Special Procedures was in the stands to observe how initiatives like the Games can support countries to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other UN conventions and guidelines that protect health and other human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.
  • At the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, Special Olympics brought together more than 300 public health leaders to grow the inclusive health movement. In an event headlined by the U.S. Surgeon General and Special Olympics athletes, we launched the Center for Inclusive Health website.
  • Fitness Performance Stations were a hit at the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics soccer tournament. The stations ensured athletes had proper preparation and recovery for their soccer games.
  • More than 50 Special Olympics Health Messengers were trained ahead of USA Games to motivate their state delegations to be fit and healthy before competitions in Seattle, Washington.
A Lasting Impact in the Dominican Republic
Jorge Rayo,  Costa Rica
World Tennis Invitational, Santo Domingo
All 200 athletes that competed in the World Tennis Invitational were offered free health screenings, along with 200 Special Olympics Dominican Republic athletes. Athletes and volunteers were welcomed at a ribbon cutting ceremony on 13 November at Club de la Dirección General de Aduanas.

Some of the health care professionals delivering screenings and education were trained by Special Olympics in a daylong Train-the-Trainer program on 12 November.