Countdown to the Games
19-24 June 2022

Get to know our health program Healthy Athletes®

The photo shows a Healthy Hearing exam as part of the Healthy Athletes program. A doctor is examining the ear of an athlete who is smiling relaxedly at the camera.

The Healthy Athletes® health program was officially opened today, on Monday, in Olympiapark. A total of seven stations ensure that our athletes are well looked after every day during the National Games.

From eye exams to foot exams, there is something for everyone included in our Healthy Athletes® program. Athletes decide for themselves which and how many stations they would like to visit.

“I love it here, the people explain everything to me,” says Felix Kulisch, currently visiting the Special Smiles station together with his mother Cornelia Kulisch.

They are from Regensburg, Germany, and like the fact that everyone can choose which stations they would like to experience.

Felix competes in athletics and had his eyes and ears checked already. He likes that everything is so relaxed here, much better than a doctors visit back home. His mother is grateful for this offer at the National Games as well: “Now I know how my son’s health is,” she says.

Participants get a tablet at the beginning of the program that saves all results for evaluation at the end, so no further paperwork is required any longer.

At some stations athletes get a reward for their examination which is one reason why the eye examination is especially popular: If an athlete needs glasses, they get ordered right away and 36 hours later the athlete can pick them up.

If they don’t need glasses, they immediately get a pair of sunglasses for free. All necessary equipment and the glasses come through sponsors.

On the picture you see a man and a woman during an Healthy Athletes eye examination, an athlete is doing an eye test.
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There are three people in the photo. An athlete is lying on a couch during a Healthy Athletes examination while the mobility of his leg is being tested by a physiotherapist. Another woman is also standing next to him.
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Isabell Harbrecht, responsible for Healthy Athletes in the Local Organisation Committee, is speaking at the opening of the Healthy Athlete program.
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The photo shows a Healthy Hearing exam as part of the Healthy Athletes program. A doctor is examining the ear of an athlete who is smiling relaxedly at the camera.
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A woman is doing an eye examination with an athlete. Another woman sits next to them and in the background you can see further people watching.
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A woman is doing an eye examination with an athlete. She is looking in the eyes of the athlete with the help of a special device.
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On the picture you see two women, one athlete is brushing teeth of a model set of teeth with the help of a big toothbrush.
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The photo shows an ear examination of an athlete at the Healthy Athletes Program at the Berlin 2022 National Games. The doctor is about to look into the athlete's ear.
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The photo shows a demonstration of proper tooth brushing at the Healthy Athletes program "Special Smiles." The staff member is using a toothbrush on a model set of teeth to demonstrate how the athlete should brush their teeth.
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Frank Giesecke, an eye specialist from Merseburg, particularly enjoys the gratefulness of the athletes: "They smile over their whole face when they come to pick up their new pair of glasses."

He thinks the Healthy Athlete® program is very important: “For people with intellectual disabilities it is much harder to express their issues at a doctor's. In this environment it is easier for them.”

He got to the Healthy Athletes® program through his wife Marion Giesecke, who is an orthopedist. She and their daughter Henriette Giesecke also help at the program, this year at the Health Promotion station.

Marion Giesecke confirms that it is easier for the athletes to talk to the doctors: “They don’t come alone, they come with friends or family and immediately it is another atmosphere than in a regular practice.” She also sees this program as a good training for medical staff to get more experiences with patients who have an intellectual disability.

Jürgen Dusel, person in authority for affairs of people with disabilities of the Federal Government, appreciates the Healthy Athletes® program and Special Olympics: “People with intellectual disability need to be more visible."

The National Games are a great opportunity, and the Federal Government is already working on an action plan to improve the access to medical attendance.”

Jürgen Dusel, Federal Government Commissioner for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, is enthusiastic about the program: "People with intellectual disabilities need to be more visible," he says at the official opening.

"The National Games are a great way to do that", he adds. And he announces that the federal government is working on an action plan to improve access to health care for all people.

Healthy Athletes at the National Games:

Opening hours are daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm. On 24 June, from 9:00am to 2:00pm.


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