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Apr 27, 2012

Special Olympic Athletes get full physical

Earlier today, two hundred special needs athletes received top notch treatment during a session that was focused exclusively on healthcare. The countrywide event is an annual program that came about as an initiative from Special Olympics Belize to provide athletes with special needs the necessary medical attention they need to make them productive in their sporting discipline as well as society. Freelance journalist Duane Moody was on hand today and found out that one of the goals for Special Olympics is to provide positive exposure for their athletes.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Checking your vital signs is regular and routine for athletes in all disciplines. And today at the Belize Elementary Auditorium and the Lion’s Club in the Old Capital, two hundred athletes across Belize got their vital signs checked, while others got their teeth and eyes examined. It’s Special Olympics Belize’s free health screenings for young athletes where they are all getting full physical exams.


James Muschamp, Chairman, Special Olympics Belize

“We are having a healthy athlete program roll out today where Special Olympics Belize has partnered with Special Olympics International, UNICEF and a bunch of other NGOs that deals with people with special needs in Belize including BCVI and we’re having a health fear where we are having a med fest, we have general medical practitioners screening our athletes, we have healthy smiles where we have dentists checking our athletes’ dentals and then we have the opening of eyes where we have ophthalmologist checking everyone’s eyes making sure that all our athletes are healthy and good to go.  Us rolling out a program like this is a moral boost for athletes. They see themselves as being productive and they will go further in society.”


Drew Choules

And with assistance from Special Olympics International, seven trainers were brought in to prepare our local medical experts with the techniques necessary to administer physical examinations to the athletes.


Drew Choules, Representative, Special Olympics North America

“What we do is we bring in some of our consultants that are physicians or dentists or optometrist and they train local doctors to do these screening on their own so when we’re not having a big event, you guys can continue to have local events here. So we ended up training eighteen dentists and dental assistants, three physicians and three optometrists. And now you have those trained physicians that can treat and screen all those Special Olympics athletes here in Belize. Health is important for all of us and this provides them an opportunity to come and have free healthcare. Everything that we do is completely free for the athletes. So they get to come and make sure they have regular and routine healthcare throughout the year.”


James Muschamp

According to Chairman of Special Olympics Belize, James Muschamp, if necessary, eyeglasses will be provided to athletes.


James Muschamp

“The ophthalmologist actually has this big fancy equipment over there. They brought in glasses, they brought in frames, they brought in all the necessary equipment to facilitate our athletes. So if someone needs a glasses, there is a high possibility—nine out of ten—that they will be walking away with a glasses today.”


Special Olympics Belize intends to target other special needs athletes through follow-up screening tests slated for late July during the organization’s summer camps and national games in September. Duane Moody for News Five.


The event was organized with the assistance of Lion’s Club, the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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