Dr. Timothy Dutra, podiatric medical volunteer for the Special Olympics World Games

Tim Dutra, DPM, podiatric medical volunteer for Special Olympics

ABPM Diplomate, Tim Dutra, DPM, joined the podiatric medical volunteer team for the Special Olympics World Games, held in Los Angeles on July 25-August 2, 2015, to help with the Healthy Athletes Fit Feet program.  Healthy Athletes is a Special Olympics program that provides free health screenings (one of seven different areas). Dr. Dutra is a faculty member of the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University.

The Special Olympics involves athletes with intellectual disabilities, with over 4.4 million athletes competing globally each year.  This is the first time in 16 years that the Special Olympics World Games returned to the USA.  Over 7,000 athletes from more than 170 nations competed in 25 sports.  Locations included USC, UCLA, Long Beach, and the L.A. Convention Center.  Nearly half of all the athletes experience preventable foot conditions.  The Fit Feet clinic worked from 11 am to 7 pm every day and frequently a long line of athletes was waiting to be evaluated.

The Fit Feet Stations included: 1) biomechanical exam, 2) shoe and foot measurement, 3) gait analysis and foot posture assessment, and 4) foot education.  All athletes received a pair of complementary athletic shoes from New Balance.

Dr. Dutra has also served as a medical staff volunteer for the Northern California Special Olympics Summer and Winter Games in the past.  “This is my first experience with the World Games, and it was a great to work with our medical services team and the athletes from all over the world.  The Special Olympics provides a great experience for the athletes, volunteers, and the spectators.”  The team included US podiatrists, international podiatrists, podiatry residents, and podiatry students from the two California schools of podiatric medicine.  A wide variety of foot conditions and pathologies were seen with some of the busiest days approaching 1000 athletes a day.   “The athletes really enjoyed the whole experience of the World Games and the opportunity to meet other athletes and non-athletes from around the world.”  Many celebrities came through the venues to meet the athletes and staff as well.