Special Olympics FunFitness



We need PTs, PTAs, PT students and PTA students to help with FUNfitness screenings at the Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games in Raleigh on Saturday, June 4th. No experience necessary! Just a willingness to work with others!

FUNfitness is a program developed by APTA for the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative.

All volunteers will receive a Healthy Athletes t-shirt (though you can also wear one that you have already, if you have participated previously). We encourage you to eat dinner prior to the event. Snacks and water will be provided during the event.

Please sign up early, as this is usually a very popular event and we are limited in the number of volunteers that can participate due to space. We hope you can take part!  Also, licensed staff, you can enter these hours on your continuing competence reporting for North Carolina!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions at ncfunfitness@gmail.com Thank you and hope to see you there!

Jen Roberts, PT, Mike Moran, PT and Lindsay Gentz, PT

Special Olympics North Carolina FUNfitness Clinical Directors 

Maredith Russo, SPT

Special Olympics North Carolina FUNfitness Student Leader

EVENT: Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games

LOCATION: North Carolina State University Campus, Talley Student Center,  (2610 Cates Ave), Raleigh, NC

DATE: Saturday, June 4, 2016

TIME: 5:00pm to 9:00pm (plus 15-30 minutes after the event for break down and clean up)


Details, screening tips / instructions and directions

will be emailed to all volunteers the week of the event.

Please email the following information below to us at ncfunfitness@gmail.com

no later than Saturday, May 28th.


(Cell/Preferred) PHONE:



___ PT ___ PTA PT/PTA LICENSE # : ________

___ STUDENT PT ___ STUDENT PTA SCHOOL: _______________________


How many times have you previously volunteered with FUNfitness? ______


FunFitness Clinical Directors and Contact Information:

  • Lindsay Gentz, PT

FUNfitness is the result of an established professional relationship between the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Special Olympics Inc. (SOI). The original event was developed by APTA and the North Carolina Chapter as a flexibility screening for Special Olympics members at the 1999 Special Olympics Summer World Games. In November 1999 APTA agreed to develop FUNfitness, a comprehensive physical therapy component for SOI’s Healthy Athletes, a program that addresses ongoing health needs of SOI members.

The mission of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes®, developed in 1996, is to improve athletes' ability to train and compete in Special Olympics. Healthy Athletes is designed to help Special Olympics athletes improve their health and fitness, leading to enhanced sports experience and improved well-being. The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Initiative includes these disciplines: Fit Feet, FUNfitness, Healthy Hearing, Health Promotion, Opening Eyes®. MedFest and Special Smiles®. Special Olympics Healthy Athletes continues to expand rapidly around the globe!

FUNfitness was pilot tested in five states in 2000, and developed with feedback from physical therapy professionals. FUNfitness premiered at the Special Olympics Winter World Games in Anchorage, Alaska in March 2001 with the assistance of the Alaska Physical Therapy Association.

FUNfitness is a screening event. The purposes of FUNfitness are to assess and improve flexibility, functional strength, balance, and aerobic fitness; to educate participants and families about the importance of flexibility, strength, and balance to overall fitness; and to provide a hands-on opportunity for participants to learn about physical therapy.

Physical therapists assess flexibility of the hamstring, calf, shoulder rotator, and hip flexor muscles; functional strength of the abdominal and lower extremity muscles and grip strength; balance (single leg stance and functional reach), and aerobic fitness (two-minute step test).

The screening also provides instruction to participants about how to stretch, strengthen and improve balance. Physical therapist assistants and physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students assist physical therapists in various aspects of the event.
Email NC FUNfitness Clinical Directors Kristin Ball (kball@triad.rr.com) or Katie Poole (kt_winfreypta@yahoo.com) with questions or to volunteer.

Top 10 Special Olympics FUNfitness myths... and the truth:


  1. I have to be a pediatric therapist… At the last screening event the average athlete age was 26 years old with a range of 10 to 67
  2. I have to know about Intellectual Disabilities… Special Olympics has a great orientation program for learning about intellectual disabilities and how to work with the athletes. Also, once you work at a screen, you fall in love with the athletes!!
  3. It will be hectic and I will be overwhelmed… Each of the Healthy Athlete events is sectioned off and there is lots of help from previous volunteers and the Clinical Directors.
  4. I have to know the screening ahead of time… We perform basic screening activities (i.e. ROM, crunches, Functional Reach, etc.) and there are detailed instructions for each area. There is plenty of orientation time and help, so don’t worry!
  5. I won’t know anyone there… This is a great time to network and meet other PTs, PTAs, and students. You are more than welcome to invite a spouse, friend, or family member (great for mature high school students needing service hours) to volunteer as well.
  6. I will have to take off work and/or it will take a lot of time… Screening events are typically on Saturdays and often require only 4 to 5 hours of your time. All volunteers seem to feel this time flies by and is very enjoyable!
  7. I have to have PT experience… All PT’s, PTA’s, and students are welcome no matter the level of experience - there is always someone to help. Non-clinical volunteers are welcome - we have jobs for them too!
  8. FUNfitness is the only activity in which the athletes to participate… There are usually at least 2 or 3 Healthy Athletes events occurring (i.e. Special Smiles, Health Promotion, Opening Eyes) in addition to the athletes’ dance and other activities.
  9. There is no way for the athletes to have follow ups… A provider network is being set up so that athletes can find therapists and other medical professionals in their area who are willing and able to see them. Health care providers can enroll in the Directory at www.specialolympics.org/providerdirectory
  10. Nothing happens with the data collected… The collected data is entered after each event and is part of a database that is being analyzed to establish norms for the population.