At this year's Special Olympics Summer World Games in Athens, Greece, physical therapists and students screened 1,580 athletes using FUNfitness, the fitness event developed in collaboration with APTA for Special Olympics (SO) Healthy Athletes®.
More than 6,500 SO athletes from 185 countries participated in 21 events June 25-July 4. Of the 1,580 athletes who were screened, more than 69% required education for flexibility, while 45% were educated to improve balance and 28% to increase strength. FUNfitness global advisors also trained FUNfitness clinical directors from Cote D’Ivoire, France, Germany, Republic of Korea, Reunion, South Africa, and Tanzania.
A special highlight at the screenings was a visit by APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD. Ward observed athletes being screened and talked with physical therapists about the value of fitness for people with disabilities. He honored the FUNfitness team and trainees with his presence at the Opening Ceremonies held at Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first Olympic Games of the modern era. "It was a privilege to experience the meaning of these games with the athletes and the international community," said Ward. "I'm extremely proud of our physical therapy colleagues who dedicated so much time and effort to the FUNfitness component of participant care during the games and continue to work so hard on behalf of these incredible athletes."
From left are Jim Gleason, PT, MS, FUNfitness research and education coordinator, Donna Bainbridge, PT, EdD, ATC, global clinical advisor for FUNfitness and Fitness Programming, APTA President Scott Ward, PT, PhD, and Vicki Tilley, PT, GCS, FUNfitness coordinator of Clinical Services-North America.