While the Special Olympics is best known for its sporting events, the organization also helps extend the reach of health and medical services to those with intellectual disabilities around the world. In 1997, the Special Olympics created the Healthy Athletes program, which has provided millions of health screenings and trained nearly 250,000 healthcare professionals around the world to work with people with intellectual disabilities. The program has also given thousands of pairs of eyeglasses to athletes who need vision correction to perform at their peak.
While people with intellectual disabilities often have other medical conditions, these conditions are not necessarily direct results of the disabilities. By training healthcare professionals to spot maladies in this population, Special Olympics changes lives.