Help Our Athletes Stay
Happy & Healthy
Be a part of SOLA by volunteering your professional time to assist with our Healthy Athletes program or by joining our medical team for state games and competitions. Our medical teams at state events are vital to the health and safety of our athletes and partners. On-Site Medical Volunteers work as a part of the Medical Team under the direction of a Medical Director to provide on-site medical attention to athletes and partners.
Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch about becoming a medical volunteer with SOLA.
Find Volunteer Opportunities
& Events Near You
Special Olympics Louisiana (SOLA) offers volunteer opportunities across 14 Olympic-type sports to help individuals with special needs. Individuals can participate as coaches, unified partners, or general volunteers. Find events happening near you and connect with your local Special Olympics community below!
Special Olympics Fit Feet offers screenings to evaluate ankles, feet, lower extremity biomechanics, and proper shoe and sock gear to participating athletes. Fit Feet helps Special Olympics athletes step lively on the playing field, and in everyday life. Many athletes suffer from foot and ankle pain, or deformities that impair their performance. Volunteer healthcare professionals examine athletes’ feet and ankles for deformities, and also check for proper shoes and socks.
Criteria For Clinical Director: Certificate and current licensure as a Podiatrist or other licensed foot health care provider. Able to assist with garnering corporate sponsorship, networking, and soliciting, train local volunteers, work within the guidelines of the local program to coordinate events yearly, ensure proper data collection and quality assurance, and develop follow-up referrals for athletes.
FUNfitness is a physical therapy event that addresses the ongoing health needs of Special Olympics athletes. FUNfitness provides athletes the opportunity to be examined for flexibility, functional strength, balance, and aerobic fitness. During these screenings, physical therapists, related health professionals, and students offer athletes expert guidance and exercise recommendations to prevent and reduce the risk of injury while working to improve the athletes’ optimal function not only in sports training and competition but in everyday life. FUNfitness is designed to assess and improve flexibility, functional strength, and balance; to educate participants, families, and coaches about the importance of flexibility, strength, and balance; and to provide a hands-on opportunity for participants to learn about physical therapy.
Criteria for Clinical Director: A licensed Physical Therapist is the preferable choice for Clinical Director. In situations where it has been difficult to identify a PT, and when interest has been expressed by a licensed or registered Physical Therapist Assistant, the PTA can be trained to become a CD. The PTA can coordinate the event, solicit funding and recruit volunteers. However, they must work in conjunction with a physical therapist to identify volunteer PTs, the only professionals who can perform the specific tests in FUNfitness.
Health Promotion, a discipline of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes, focuses on healthy living, healthy lifestyle choices, and nation-specific health issues. In addition to health education activities, Health Promotion offers screenings for bone density, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). Its goals include encouraging and enhancing healthy behaviors and improving self-efficacy and self-advocacy. Health Promotion venues empower and motivate athletes to make healthy lifestyle choices that will improve their long-term health by using interactive educational games and literature.
Criteria for Clinical Director: Dietician, Physician, Nurse Practitioner, Nurse, PT, Health Educator, someone with a Public Health background. Family members, particularly those with an allied health background would be ideally suited. For success, one must volunteer 3+ years, have good communication skills, talent for teaching and training, organizational skills, and able to wisely delegate responsibilities, capacity to sustain enthusiasm and energy over the long term.
The Healthy Hearing discipline of Healthy Athletes provides comprehensive hearing screenings and follow-up recommendations. The main goals of this program are to inform athletes, parents, coaches, or caregivers about the detection of possible ear and hearing problems, recommend follow-up as needed, and promote the necessity of regular ear and hearing screenings. Healthy Hearing is the audiological exam designed to assess the prevalence of possible hearing loss among Special Olympics athletes and to identify specific athletes who need audiological evaluations to determine if a hearing loss exists and requires treatment.
Criteria for Clinical Director: A properly certified Audiologist or Speech-Language Pathologist. If the Clinical Director is a Speech-Language Pathologist, there must be a properly certified Audiologist participating at the event to address questions and give advice concerning the hearing problems of athletes or others.
Opening Eyes provide exams to Special Olympics athletes and educate athletes, parents, and coaches about the importance of regular eye care. Special Olympics athletes who participate in an Opening Eyes exam may be fitted for new eyeglasses or sports goggles at no cost to the athlete.
Criteria for Clinical Director: Vision Care Professional, Licensed Optometrist, or Ophthalmologist.
Special Smiles® is a non-intrusive dental exam. It provides athletes with hygiene education to help ensure they are doing an adequate job of brushing and flossing, as well as nutritional education to understand how their diet affects their total health. The athletes also are provided with a list of dentists/clinics in their area who will treat patients with special needs, should they have difficulty finding a dentist.
Criteria for Clinical Director: A local volunteer clinical director can be a licensed dentist or dental hygienist. Licensed dentists and licensed dental hygienists can perform the actual exam. It is preferred that a dentist is on-site at every exam but is not mandatory.
Guided meditations and simple movements enhance the life-force energy. Athletes try a few different strategies as they move through the station. Athletes are asked what strategies they like the best and volunteers provide them with visual reminders so they can use the tools in competition and real life. Each athlete also receives a resource packet that includes tips for coping with stress as well as information sheets for family members and care providers.
Criteria for Clinical Director: Certificate and current licensure as a Mental Health professional (ie. Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Social Worker, Licensed Counselor, Behavior Analyst, Nurse Practitioner, Physician.)
People with intellectual disabilities who wish to participate in Special Olympics first need to receive a participation physical exam and clearance from their primary care physician. It is only after the athlete completes the physical examination that they can officially enter into Special Olympics sports programming, helping to assure the safe participation of every athlete. The program has since become one of the most effective tools for the global growth of the Special Olympics. A MedFest exam consists of vitals (blood pressure, height, and weight), cardiology, abdominal, and musculoskeletal checks.
Criteria for Clinical Director: Be a licensed physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner