Maryland’s Own Monday: Disabled Sports USA

Based out of Montgomery County, Md., Disabled Sports USA is an organization that was established in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans to serve those injured in war through sport.

2014 Adult National Open and Great Lakes Regional Games. (photo by Reed Hoffmann, courtesy Disabled Sports USA)

Disabled Sports USA’s mission is to provide national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, recreation and educational programs. Since 1967, Disabled Sports USA has focused on one goal: To improve the lives of wounded warriors, youth and adults with disabilities by providing sports and recreation opportunities.

Disabilities include those with visual impairments, amputations, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, head injury, cerebral palsy, other neuromuscular/orthopedic conditions, autism and related intellectual disabilities. Over 50 different adaptive sports are offered, including alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, kayaking, water skiing, sailing, scuba, surfing, rafting, outrigger canoeing, fishing, hiking, golf, athletics, archery, cycling, running/wheeling, rock climbing, equestrian and others.

Third day of Ski Spectacular 2013(Photo Reed Hoffmann on 12/5/13)

One of Disabled Sports USA’s most successful programs is Adapt2Achieve, established in 2009 to offer training in adaptive sports and nonprofit management to develop and strengthen community-based adaptive sports organizations. Adapt2Achieve is special to the 1,500+ people it serves due in part to the potential grant and scholarship opportunities, the chance to network with others, expert presenters who come and speak to the athletes, and the high volume of training offered year-round to its member organizations.

“Our vision is to ensure that every person, regardless of ability, has an equal opportunity to participate in sports and recreation in their community,” said Kirk Bauer, U.S. Army (retired) and Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA.

Kirk Bauer

Executive Director, Kirk Bauer

Headquartered in Rockville for 35 of its 50 years in existence, Disabled Sports USA is located within close proximity of our nation’s Capital and some of the organization’s largest partners including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, particularly Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, and other national nonprofits.  In addition, five of the 125 DSUSA chapters are located in the state and the organization receives a significant amount of support in Maryland.

“This year, we are celebrating our 50th anniversary- a significant milestone in the adaptive sports movement,” said Bauer. “Over these 50 years, we have seen tremendous changes in technology, as well as interest and growth in the adaptive sports movement.”

To learn more about Disabled Sports USA, please visit their website for more information.

The 7th Annual Congressional Charity Golf Classic (photo/Patricia Berry)

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