RVU students and faculty members provided free sports physicals for Special Olympics Colorado (SOCO) athletes on Saturday, March 30th. The event was made possible through a partnership between RVU, SOCO’s Healthy Athletes® program, and the Denver Osteopathic Foundation’s (DOF) Sports Physicals program.
According to SOCO, an average athlete with intellectual disabilities (ID) visits fifty different physicians until he or she can find a provider able to meet their needs. As such, the first goal of the event was to increase access to quality healthcare for the athletes, and to do so in a fun and comfortable environment. By participating in the partnership between SOCO and DOF’s programs, RVU’s students and faculty members also received free training on the specific care needs of individuals with ID, further increasing their knowledge of and compassion for these patients.
“We are grateful for the effort the Denver Osteopathic Foundation put into a student event with Special Olympics Colorado,” said Jill Pitcher, DO, Associate Professor of Family Medicine. “This often requires not just good sports exam skills, but some understanding of the special circumstances these athletes have in their life and how it impacts their participation in sports. Paired first-year and second-year students performed exams on 12 athletes, and they all really enjoyed the interaction and experience they had.”
The combined resources from SOCO’s Healthy Athletes® program, DOF’s Sports Physicals program, and RVU students and faculty members’ expertise led to a fun event that greatly benefitted the athletes and their families. By receiving free sports physicals at RVU, athletes were cleared to participate in sports activities and competitions that are incredible rewarding for them, their families, and their community. In addition, the event raised awareness of the healthcare needs of individuals with ID and the importance of ongoing education and training for healthcare professionals and medical students.
“The athletes and their families were a joy to work with and provided a valuable experience for RVU students to perform their physicals under the supervision of a physician,” said Emma Vaudreuil, OMS-II. “The athletes came to us with unique medical needs and they helped teach medical students how to be flexible and perform a comprehensive exam. Events like these also allow us to make connections with the community and share what it means to be an osteopathic physician,” said Gage Williamson, OMS-II.
For more photos of the event, visit the RVU Facebook page.