Health and Wellness

by | Jul 5, 2016 |


Health has a substantial impact on the quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and affects each Special Olympics athlete’s ability to train and compete in sports effectively.

Did you know that on average, in the United States, on a team of 10 athletes,


Through free health exams for Special Olympics athletes, Special Olympics has amassed the world’s largest data set on the health status of people with ID, uncovering vast gaps in the health care of our athletes. There is a myth that the poor health of individuals with ID is unavoidable because it is an inherent part of their disability. Research has shown, however, that it is a result of a breakdown in health education, health promotion, and health care that can be addressed. For more myths and health facts click here.

Special Olympics Kansas is committed to providing health and wellness opportunities which will impact the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their supporters. Our HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAM is divided into 2 categories:

Healthy Athletes


This program has been offered by SOKS since 2003 and provides health screenings free of charge to SOKS athletes at competition venues. Offered in a welcoming, family friendly and fun environment, these screenings educate athletes on healthy life style choices and identify problems that may need additional professional follow-up. Click here to learn more about the Healthy Athlete program.

Free medical screenings are offered in a number of disciplines:

  • FitFeet
  • Healthy Hearing
  • Health Promotion
  • Opening Eyes
  • Special Smiles
Healthy Communities

The Healthy Communities Program incorporates health programs which impact the lives of individuals with disabilities, their supporters and Kansas Communities. The program incorporates four elements:

  • Shape-Up Kansas
  • Bike 4 Life
  • Healthy Habits
  • Health Forums

Shape-Up Kansas The Mission of Shape-Up Kansas is to increase the fitness level among SOKS athletes, their supporters and other citizens in Kansas communities. Participants are asked to commit to an exercise routine and set goals while working with a Shape-up Coordinator (Training companion).

Bike 4 Life The Bike 4 Life program was developed by Coach John Lair of Pittsburg, and has an impressive weight loss record for both coaches and athletes who participate. The goal of the program is to improve the fitness level of athletes using work-out programs on stationary and non-stationary bikes.

Healthy Habits is a lifestyle changing health education initiative with the goals of improving health and allowing individuals to improve their quality of life. There are six lessons: Hydration, exercise and stretching, sun safety, hand-washing and nutrition. Each month participants focus on a particular lesson.

Family Health Forums are sponsored by Lions Club International. This initiative is designed to engage families of those with intellectual disabilities in Special Olympics and offer an environment where parents and caregivers can gain access to health information, resources and support.

Click here for more information on Healthy Communities  Elements.