Recovery footwear company Oofos has partnered with Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) in 2018 for a second year supporting Healthy Athletes as part of the SONJ State Games and Special Olympics USA Games for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Oofos became involved with the organization in 2017 through its ongoing work with Dr. Robert Conenello, the clinical director for SONJ. For 20 years, Conenello has been involved in the SONJ Healthy Athletes program, which offers screenings in podiatry, audiology, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, health education and physical examinations. He oversees the Fit Feet podiatry program across the state. After learning about Oofos nearly seven years ago, Conenello saw great potential for a partnership through which every SONJ athlete would be gifted a pair of Oofos.
This year SONJ hosted 2,500 athletes at its Summer Games, where they competed in bocce, track and field, softball, swimming, powerlifting, gymnastics and tennis. Conenello was able to screen 332 athletes over the course of two days and refer 61 for additional follow-up care. Oofos donated product to all athletes screened.
“These athletes are all underserved,” said Conenello, who has individuals take off their shoes and socks so he can provide musculoskeletal, dermatologic and gait analysis and observe, examine and screen to identify gross abnormalities. “They’re usually wearing really bad flip flops and slides, the wrong size of shoe or the wrong shoe for the activity.”
By giving away Oofos to athletes onsite, coaches, parents and the athletes’ supporters could immediately see the impact of the recovery footwear. They want to know where they can get their own pair and, Conenello said, this year people came back wearing the pair they were given in 2017.
“We are honored to provide our game-changing recovery footwear to these athletes,” said Oofos President Steve Gallo. “Our mission is to make you feel better, and this was a great opportunity to help these athletes do so by helping them recover faster.”