GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- The Special Olympics is providing a program to keep their athletes in tip-top-shape.
The Healthy Athletes Program works to provide their sport stars with health services at Special Olympic events. These free screenings include check-ups with professionals in things like dental care, podiatry, physical therapy and other health services.
"People with Down Syndrome, for example, have an increased risk of cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. People with intellectual disabilities are dying 16 years earlier than their typically developing peers," said Erin Medina, Vice President of Non-Competitive program for the Special Olympics.
Organizers with the Special Olympics say those with special needs have a shorter lifespan due to the lack of access to good quality healthcare.
This year, the Special Olympics has provided 1,600 screenings. 994 of those screenings happened in Grand Junction at the Special Olympics Summer Games.