Research shows that people with an intellectual disability face a 40% greater risk of health issues than members of the general public. Through the Healthy Athletes initiative we hope to improve this statistic reflecting our holistic approach to athlete well-being and support.
Studies indicate that people with an intellectual disability, in the same age range, participate in regular sport. That’s part of why we’re working hard to provide sports opportunities for more Samoans with an intellectual disability. We’re also actively encouraging better healthcare and lifestyle choices through our Healthy Athletes program.
Free Health Screenings
Through this program, volunteer health professionals provide free health screenings at major competitions. Clinics cross a variety of disciplines including optometry, audiology and dentistry and are conducted in a welcoming and fun environment.
Athletes with Disabilities Require Special Services
This is an important Special Olympics initiative as people with an intellectual disability are more likely to develop obesity, diabetes and heart conditions than the general population.
Some of this is due to lack of opportunities to participate in mainstream activities but it also indicates the limited ability of health professionals to meet their special needs.
Athletes with an intellectual disability, who also have communication or social issues, can find it difficult to express themselves clearly, and in a busy medical practice this can lead to misdiagnosed or untreated problems. It is also common for people with an intellectual disability to have complex medical needs.