FUN-Fitness for North Dakota | Oct 17, 2012

On September 15th and 16th, the Special Olympics State Soccer and Bocce Ball tournament was held at Bringewatt Park in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There were over 100 athletes participating in the event. The Special Olympics has developed a program that entails assessments of the athletes provided by healthcare professionals including areas of podiatry, physical therapy, audiology, physicians, optometry, dentistry, and clinicians. Of these, the FUNfitness Healthy Athletes incorporates the assessment of strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobic capabilities.

Donna Bainbridge, PT, EdD, ATC, the Special Olympics Global Advisor for FUNfitness & Fitness Programming, flew in from Montana to train Heather Sletten, PT, DPT, to become the Clinical Director of FUNfitness for North Dakota. This position would allow for preparations to provide services for the FUNfitness event by recruiting volunteers and sponsors, obtaining equipment, and anything else to allow the event to run smoothly.

With Donna Bainbridge overseeing, Heather Sletten was able to coordinate the FUNfitness event at Bringewatt Park. For Saturday, there were 29 volunteers, including PTs, PT students, and PTA students. All the volunteers were able to screen 55 athletes at the event. After the assessment was completed, the volunteers provided education on stretches and strengthening exercises for their noted deficits. They were also in charge of referring athletes to a physical therapist or a primary care physician, as appropriate.

In closing, we had a great turnout for this event, screening even more athletes than expected. It is hopeful that we will be able to continue to provide this service at other Special Olympic events. A special thanks to Alyson White, Meridee Danks, Debra Leier, Donna Bainbridge, and all the volunteers. Without you, it would not have been possible to organize this event. It is hopeful we will continue to have even better turnouts with each new event.

Heather Sletten
Clinical Director of FUNFitness for North Dakota