Healthy Athletes



The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program offers health services and information to athletes in need. In the process, Special Olympics has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics Illinois currently offers 6 different health screening programs throughout the state: FUNFitness (physical therapy), Healthy Hearing (audiology), MedFest (sports physical exam), Opening Eyes (vision), Healthy Promotion and Special Smiles (dentistry).

Officially launched in 1997, Healthy Athletes organizes its events in a welcoming, fun environment. Its screenings educate athletes on healthy lifestyle choices and identify problems that may need additional follow-up.

For more information on Healthy Athlete events taking place around the state, please see our events calendar. If you are interested in starting up a Healthy Athletes event in Illinois or for more information, please contact Carolyn Cronin at

Healthy Fit Tips

Healthy Athlete Disciplines

For more information on the various Healthy Athlete disciplines offered by Special Olympics Illinois click on the links below.

Opening Eyes

Healthy-Athletes-Picture---Opening-Eyes-1The Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program is a vision and eye health screening in partnership with the Lions Clubs International Foundation. Led by volunteer vision care professionals, Opening Eyes is able to offer prescription eyewear, sunglasses and sports goggles to Special Olympics athletes.

Since 2001, the Lions Clubs International Foundation's generous support has made it possible to expand Special Olympics' Opening Eyes initiative globally. The contribution not only maintains and improves all aspects of the initiative, but also helps provide volunteer support to the organization.

In Illinois, we currently offer Opening Eyes screenings at Summer Games, Chicago MedFest and at some Chicago Public Schools.

For more information, visit the SOI Resources Page.

Healthy Athletes Picture - Opening Eyes 2


Healthy Hearing

Healthy-Athletes-Picture---Healthy-HearingSpecial Olympics Healthy Hearing program is a free hearing screening designed to ensure proper audiological care for participating Special Olympics athletes. Led by volunteer professionals, Healthy Hearing also provides tests for cerumen (ear wax) and otoacoustic emissions tests.

In Illinois, we currently offer Healthy Hearing screenings at Summer Games.

For more information, visit SOI Resources Page.




Healthy-Athletes-Picture---FunfitnesssSpecial Olympics FUNfitness is a physical therapy screening program that is designed to assess and improve physical strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic fitness; educate athletes and parents on the importance of becoming and staying physically fit; and provide a hands-on opportunity for participating Special Olympics athletes to learn more about physical therapy. FUNfitness is directed by volunteer physical therapists that assess and provide referral for athletes needing either physical therapy rehabilitative or fitness programming services.

In Illinois, we currently offer FUNfitness screenings at Summer Games and Chicago's District Bocce.

For more information, visit SOI Resources Page.


Healthy-Athletes-Picture---MedFestSpecial Olympics MedFest is a free health screening that facilitates the acquisition of the standard sports physical that is required under the General Rules of Special Olympics Illinois. Led by volunteer physicians, nurses, physician assistants and medical students, the MedFest screening consists of the following stations: medical history, height and weight, blood pressure, cardiology test, musculoskeletal test, orthopedic tests, abdominal evaluation and a check-out station.

In Illinois, we currently offer MedFest events at the local Area level to prepare athletes for participation with Special Olympics Illinois. For a full list of events, check our Events Calendar.

For more information, visit SOI Resources Page.

Special Smiles

Special Olympics Special Smiles offers free dental screening, oral health information and instructions on brushing and flossing properly to participating Special Olympics athletes, as well as preventative supplies like toothpaste and toothbrushes. Athletes who require follow-up dental services are referred to local oral health professionals.

In Illinois, we currently offer Special Smiles events at many competitions, including various Area Spring Games and Summer Games.

For more information, visit SOI Resources Page.

Health Promotion

Health Promotion, a discipline of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes, focuses on healthy living, healthy lifestyle choices, and nation-specific health issues. In addition to health education activities, health Promotion offers screenings for bone density, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). Its goals include encouraging and enhancing healthy behaviors and improving self-efficacy and self-advocacy.

In Illinois, we currently offer Health Promotion at Summer Games.

For more information, visit SOI Resources Page.