Special Olympics Helps Make Healthy Athletes 

Athletes at the University of Maine couldn’t have asked for better weather this weekend.The 41-st annual Maine Special Olympics are underway this weekend in Orono.And thanks to a new program at the Games, many of the athletes are now living healthier lives…Meghan Hayward has the story.” I can tell you that a good number of the athletes here today probably had their bags packed a month ago in preparation for summer games.”Close to 14-hundred athletes ranging in age from eight to eighty-eight came to compete in the forty-first annual Maine Special Olypmics.Most of them have a medal in their sights.But Special Olympics of Maine President and CEO Phil Geelhoed says it’s also a great way to get the athletes into a healthy routine.There’s now a particular program working to do that.” within special olympics we have a program called healthy athletes in which we take six or seven health distinctions and we do on field screenings during this event.”There are dental, hearing and eye checkups. Physical therapy, too.The program’s getting great feedback so far.” what we’d have to do to have that happen in the community would take weeks on end to happen. it happens in one day here.”Physical therapist Jen Corbeil helps make it happen. She volunteers her time at the healthy athlete event and helps the athletes with a variety of things.” perform range of motion which is flexibility screenings, balance screenings, and aerobic screening on the athletes. and once the athletes go through they get an exercise booklet and it allows them areas they might be having trouble with to work on when they go back home or back to their programs.”Corbeil says there is nothing more satisfying than working this event.” priceless, speechless. it’s just amazing. it’s so amazing to work with this population.”Husson University physical therapy student Kim Leadbetter thinks it’s a great program too. She says she has been able to learn a lot from it.” just like the people skills and stuff like that. it’s pretty nice to get to talk to people and get an idea of what works and what doesn’t and have to adapt to different people.”A program that helps the athletes go for their goals.” I wanna get the gold.”