Special Olympics State Summer Games | Oct 11, 2013

On May 31st, the Special Olympics State Summer Games were held at Davies High School in Fargo, North Dakota. Over 511 special olympics athletes and unified partners participated in this 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.

Heather Studsrud, PT, DPT, Clinical Director of FUNfitness for North Dakota organized this event with the help of Debra Leier, Director of Field Services for Special Olympics of ND. Volunteers were recruited, some of whom volunteered last September at the State Bocce Ball and Soccer Games.

Heather was able to coordinate the FUNfitness event at Davies High School. The FUNfitness event was held on Friday. There were 15 volunteers, including PTs, PT students, and PTA students. All the volunteers were able to screen 42 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.

The Public Relations Committee for the NDPTA sponsored this event by putting monies toward cinch bags that were provided to the athletes after finishing with the screening. They will be able to use the remainder for future events. The bags included the NDPTA logo as well as the Special Olympics logo.

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. If anyone is interested in becoming a FUNfitness coordinator in other areas of the state (especially the western half), please let me know and I will gladly get you trained. You can contact me at heathers@prorehabcenter.com.

A special thank you to Alyson White, Debra Leier, 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.

By Heather Studsrud, PT, DPT