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Working with Special Olympics athletes as a physiotherapist

Monday, Feb. 24, 2020
 

Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, providing year-round training and activities to 5 million participants in 172 countries. In 2019, Lifemark became a proud national partner of Special Olympics Canada, an amazing organization whose commitment to improving the health of Canadians through movement aligns perfectly with our values and vision.

From two-year-olds to mature adults, 47,461 athletes across Canada participate in year-round programs through Special Olympics. They are supported by more than 22,000 volunteers, including 16,000 trained coaches and organizations like Lifemark. We help athletes by providing physical therapy screenings through Special Olympics Canada’s Healthy Athletes program, which also offers screenings for health and well-being, vision, podiatry, audiology, dentistry and emotional well-being, among others. Participating in this program allows our clinicians to use their skills and expertise to support Special Olympics athletes in their journeys.

Gearing up for the 2020 Winter Games in Thunder Bay

Lifemark’s physical therapy screenings test the flexibility, functional strength and aerobic conditions of Special Olympics athletes. These screenings were originally developed in collaboration with the American Physical Therapy Association and have been a part of Special Olympics events since 1999.

Lifemark has locations across Canada, meaning we will be providing screenings for different Special Olympics events across the country, plus follow-up sessions for athletes who require more specialized care or treatment. We believe this contribution can help increase the number of athletes who may eventually reach the National or even International level of competition.

This year, Special Olympics Canada’s National Winter Games are taking place from February 25 to the 29 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lifemark clinicians Ian Winningham (Physiotherapist at Lifemark Physiotherapy King East), Julie Pelletier (Physical Rehabilitation Therapist at Clinique Physiotherapie Universelle - Vanier) and Angela Stancato (Registered Massage Therapist at Lifemark Physiotherapy King East) will all be present on site to work with Special Olympics athletes and able to provide service to athletes in both English and French. We can already tell this is going to be a fun and tremendously satisfying experience.

An infectious love of sports and life

On a personal note, and speaking on behalf of the entire staff at Lifemark Physiotherapy King East, I’d like to mention that our interactions to date with the Special Olympics organization, the Special Olympics athletes and their families have been extraordinarily rewarding.

As clinicians, our day-to-day lives involves treating clients and helping them recover from a variety of conditions or musculoskeletal impairments. Working with Special Olympic athletes is a delight because their love of sports and life is simply infectious. They are often motivated and driven to “become stronger”, which helps them improve greatly from one appointment to the next. Their determination also fuels our desire to see them succeed with their personal goals, such as improving their flexibility or standing balance, or just becoming a better bowler.

As Lifemark continues to be involved with Special Olympics Canada, we hope to provide support at several events across Canada to allow as many Lifemark clinicians as possible to discover the joy of working with Special Olympics athletes.

If you would like to consult a Lifemark clinician, check out our Locations page to find a clinic near you or book online to schedule an appointment at a Lifemark clinic near you.

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