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SPSS helps Special Olympics International increase athlete healthcare funding

Howard Lake | 28 August 2008 | News

Special Olympics International is using Predictive Analytics software from SPSS to analyse data collected on athlete health worldwide to build a case for improved government policies, increased funding and new partnerships.
The organisation works to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.
It uses SPSS Predictive Analytics software to collect and analyse screening data at its Healthy Athletes events and then to create value from the information for policy and fundraising efforts.
For example, when analysing data from its past three World Games, Special Olympics found that 44 per cent of athletes had obvious untreated tooth decay. At the same World Games, Special Olympics assessed visual acuity in the athlete population and found that 26 per cent of athletes needed new glasses. The organisation used this data to persuade corporate and foundation partners to provide more than 50,000 pair of prescription glasses to athletes.
Darcie Mersereau, senior manager of research and evaluation at Special Olympics International, said: “SPSS Predictive Analytics software supports our mission to act as advocates for our athletes by allowing Special Olympics to make a solid case for improved quality and access to healthcare for populations worldwide”.
In 2008 the organisation’s Healthy Athletes programme will receive more than $5.4 million from Congress via the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund Healthy Athletes events. This funding was first granted in 2001 following data on athletes analysed and presented to the US Senate.