Healthy Athletes

Special Olympics Germany (SOD ) offers a health program for athletes with intellectual disabilities to SOD Coordinator Imke Kaschke athletes demonstrated on a doll proper dental care.


People with intellectual disabilities are at greater risk by 40 percent for additional health restrictions such as obesity, vitamin deficiency, untreated or poorly treated poor eyesight, hearing and foot injuries or bad teeth. The organizers of the Special Olympics have therefore developed a health program for their athletes.

Parallel to the competitions, there are free eye tests, dental examinations, hearing tests and tips for a healthy lifestyle. The doctors, opticians, orthopedic surgeons, dentists, and many other helpers are volunteers with. I have worked with Dr. Imke Kaschke, the coordinator of the program, spoke:

Woman: Kaschke, as is the idea of “Healthy Athletes” come about?

Imke Kaschke : The Special Olympics movement comes from the USA. Meanwhile, this movement includes more than 180 countries. The health care program was developed in the U.S. and launched in 2004 in Germany. Since it is offered regularly in regional and national events. Last year we were at 26 public events. In the Summer Games in 2013 in Munich, we have 4,000 studies conducted in the previous year in Bremen 5000.

What does the program work?

In the health program it is primarily about living a healthy lifestyle, but also about health check-ups. It has six different medical fields : ” See better,” ” Better hearing ” and the physiotherapy program ” movement with fun.” In addition, the area of ​​” health in the mouth ” where it comes to dental and oral health. The subprogramme “Fitte feet ” aims to proper foot care and the right choice of shoes. In the subproject ” self-determination healthier ” finally all areas are addressed, and an attempt is made to bring close to the athletes this knowledge to understand.

Your program is aimed at people with intellectual disabilities who are active in sports. Does a health program for athletes not carry coals to Newcastle?

We note again that athletes who still have an increased risk for additional health problems and limitations with intellectual disabilities, even if they exercise regularly. Of the approximately 400,000 people with mental disabilities in Germany are about 40,000 at the Special Olympics active.

The treatment and care needs among people with intellectual disabilities is much higher than the average population. The actual penetration is considerably lower than for the average.

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