Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was honored Thursday by the Special Olympics Florida of Miami-Dade County for its ongoing commitment to providing medical screenings and health support to athletes with intellectual disabilities. The hospital partnered with Special Olympics Florida in 2013 to provide sports physicals to athletes interested in participating in Special Olympics games. The physicals ensure they are in good health in order to play competitive sports.
Thursday’s presentation concluded with a moving speech by Andy Miyares, award-winning athlete and international global messenger for Special Olympics Florida. Dr. Deise Granado-Villar, Senior Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jose Rosa-Olivares, Medical Director of the Pediatric Care Center, Aleida Gavallas, and Teresita Lopez were among those recognized at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for making the screening events a success. In addition, the countless hospital volunteers who have dedicated their time to assist with the screenings, which are held at the hospital’s outpatient centers, were presented with commemorative plaques.
Each year, more than 4,000 South Florida athletes with intellectual disabilities compete in 17 different Special Olympics sports, including soccer, basketball, football and bowling. Although sports physicals are an important prerequisite for children who play competitive sports, people with intellectual disabilities face many roadblocks, such as lack of transportation and costs, when it comes to health physicals and preventive care. A special thank you to Special Olympics Florida representatives Linsey Harris Smith, Director of Field Services and Foundation Relations, Drew Solow, Sports Services Coordinator, Erin Kozlowski, Vice President of Resource Development and Andy Miyares for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young athletes.