Making the Most of COVID-19

Athlete Kyler Reese is set to become a Global Health Messenger.

Area 26 athlete, Kyler Reese, has been involved in Special Olympics for 20 years. He’s competed in 4 sports, serves as a Global Messenger, and has worked to inspire many fellow athletes along the way. When COVID-19 changed the course of programming in March, Kyler simply made the most of his situation.

He still works out 5 days a week and has really leaned into virtual workouts. He even tried his hand at a virtual boxing workout provided by Bash Boxing. While fitness, nutrition and working out generally come easy to Kyler, that isn’t the case for all athletes and Kyler knows it.

“Unprompted, Kyler was calling all his friends and teammates and encouraging them to join his virtual workouts,” his Dad and Mentor Barry explained. “He definitely leads by example.”

Accordingly, when an opportunity presented itself for Kyler to become a Special Olympics Health Messenger, he knew it was a perfect fit. Kyler will be just 1 of 25 athletes in North America to become a Health Messenger, and the only athlete from Virginia in the group. He began a comprehensive 4 week training in July and will graduate in August. After that, Kyler will spread his knowledge to all of his fellow athletes. “I’m excited to set a good example as a Health Messenger.”

Despite severe need and higher health risks, people with intellectual disabilities are often denied health services and die on average 16 years sooner than the general population. While it’s important for athletes to hear those statistics from family members and coaches, it’s even more valuable for them to hear it from athletes like Kyler.