Disabled Sports USA

Disabled Sports USA serves more than 60,000 disabled athletes annually, making it one of the largest national multi-sport, multi-disability organizations in the United States.[3] Disabled Sports USA is a United States-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization[4] founded in 1967 and based in Rockville, Maryland [5][6] providing opportunities youth and adults with disabilities to develop independence, confidence and fitness through participation in disabled sports.

Disabled Sports USA logo.svg
MottoIf I can do this, I can do anything!
Legal status501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
PurposeTo provide national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, recreation and educational programs.[2]
HeadquartersRockville, Maryland[1]
Coordinates39°05′22″N 77°09′04″W / 39.0895234°N 77.1511348°W / 39.0895234; -77.1511348
Region served
 United States
Glenn Merry[1]
John Blossom[1]
AffiliationsMember of United States Olympic Committee
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014)$3,248,182[1]
Employees (2013)
Volunteers (2014)
RemarksOver 60,000 wounded warriors, youth and adults served annually through over 100 chapters nationwide


Disabled Sports USA was established in 1967 by disabled military veterans to help rehabilitate the war injured returning from Vietnam[7] and originally named the National Amputee Skiers Association.[8] Today, as a member of the United States Olympic Committee,[9] Disabled Sports USA offers programs year-round in more than 50 summer and winter sports through its nationwide network of more than 120 community-based chapters, including BlazeSports America.[10] Disabled Sports USA has won numerous awards, including the US Paralympics "Amazing Salute Award."[11]


Disabled Sports USA offer numerous nationwide programs for individuals with physical disabilities, including:

Ski SpectacularEdit

Operating annually since 1987, the event is one of the nation's largest winter sports events for people with a disability with more than 700 participants[12] ranging in ability from first-time skiers to members of the US Paralympic Alpine Skiing National Team coming together.[13][14] Participants of all ages participate in snow sports made accessible by adaptive equipment, and certified professionals and volunteers.[15][16] Programs offered at The Hartford Ski Spectacular help strengthen and expand adaptive ski programs in communities throughout the U.S.; identify and train youth, wounded warriors,[17][18][19] and others with disabilities including those who strive to be winter Paralympians; and help local DSUSA chapters improve their services. A week of ski race training, sponsored by US Paralympics, prepares athletes for the Paralympic Games. The ski instructor academy endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors offers training for instructors in the latest and safest adaptive ski techniques for skiers with disabilities.

Warfighter SportsEdit

Warfighter Sports offers sports rehabilitation programs in military hospitals, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center and Naval Medical Center San Diego, and communities across the U.S. through a nationwide network of over 100 community-based chapters. The Warfighter Sports program rebuilds lives through sports by improving self-confidence, promoting independence and uniting families through shared healthy activities.[20] Warfighter Sports offers more than 30 winter and summer sports at more than 100 events each year, for wounded members of the United States Armed Forces with amputations, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, visual impairments, and significant nerve and muscle damage. In 2013, over 1,500 severely wounded warriors were provided adaptive sports opportunities.[21]


SkiTour is a calendar of winter sports events that lists national and local learning; racing and competitive opportunities across the U.S.[22][23] The calendar includes the Diana Golden Race Series, an entry level series of racing on the East Coast of the U.S. Also available for instructors, is a listing of PSIA education and certification opportunities in adaptive skiing and snowboarding for all PSIA divisions. SkiTour provides a centralized resource for participants, competitors, parents, and instructors. With more than 30 events featured participants are able to plan out their racing schedule and those who are new to the sport can find a teaching program nearest to them.


The Disabled Sports USA SummerFest Tour is a nationwide series of events and programs offered through Disabled Sports USA, its chapters and partnering organizations from the spring through the fall months.[24] It is the only event of its kind, providing youth and adults with disabilities across the country with state-of-the-art instruction, adaptive equipment and opportunities to compete in a variety of athletic events. In addition to providing grants to local chapter programs for the purchase of adaptive sports equipment and making local programs more accessible to community programs on an ongoing basis, Disabled Sports USA also works with national sports bodies to provide training for recreation instructors that want to provide quality events for clients with disabilities. These regional events provide instruction in a broad range of summer sports including kayaking, water skiing, sailing, canoeing, cycling, golf, equestrian, rock climbing, SCUBA, fishing and many more.[25]

Challenge MagazineEdit

Challenge Magazine, published three times each year for over 10 years, provides over 32,000 subscribers the latest news and articles on sports for people with disabilities.[26]

Diana Golden Opportunities FundEdit

The Diana Golden Opportunities Fund is an endowment that supports and encourages junior athletes with disabilities in their pursuit of excellence in skiing by providing scholarships for purchasing equipment or participating in an adaptive race or development camp. The fund is named after Diana Golden, one of the greatest disabled athletes of all time.[27]

Harris Poll validates effectiveness of adaptive sportsEdit

In 2009, Disabled Sports USA commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct research among American adults with physical disabilities in order to explore the attitudes and behaviors of people with disabilities towards sports and recreation.[28] Specifically, the new research determine that being engaged in sports activities has helped make a difference in terms of increased health, happiness and employment.[29] The major finding of the poll of 1,000 people with disabilities was that "people with disabilities who indicate that they are physically active are more likely to be employed, to believe that being physically active has helped them advance in their jobs, and to lead to a healthier lifestyle. Those physically active report a greater life satisfaction and are more sociable and positive about their life prospects."[30]

Adaptive sports offeredEdit

Disabled Sports USA offers adaptive sports opportunities in over 50 sports[2] including; Alpine Skiing, Archery, Baseball, Basketball, Biathlon, Boccie, Bowling, Canoeing, Cheerleading, Climbing, Curling, Cycling, Dance, Equestrian, Fishing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Hiking, Hunting, Ice Skating, Kayaking, Martial Arts, Nordic Skiing, Rafting, Rowing, Rugby, Running, Sailing, Scuba, Sled Hockey, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing, Soccer, Softball, Surfing, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Windsurfing, and Yoga

Organizational leadershipEdit

Disabled Sports USA is led by Glenn Merry. Glenn is responsible for providing effective and dynamic management and growth of DSUSA’s operations and programs. Glenn leads DSUSA’s national office, including the strategic planning and implementation that will ensure DSUSA successfully fulfills its mission by establishing and maintaining close relationships with corporate, nonprofit, professional, civic, governmental and foundation entities.

Glenn brings has extensive experience leading nonprofit and sports management organizations. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer of the United States Rowing Association, an Olympic National Governing Body (NGB), where he expanded membership by fifty percent, reaching 100,000 individuals, doubled the number of USRowing member organizations, and nearly tripled the organization’s revenues. While at USRowing, Merry was also instrumental in setting new standards for community partnerships and implementing effective youth protection policies.

During his tenure, Merry captured bids for the 2017 World Rowing Championships and the 2018 FISA Masters Regattas. A leader for diversity and inclusion in sport, Merry led the launch of USRowing’s adaptive/para rowing program and created Freedom Rows, a national program serving military veterans. The US Olympic Committee honored USRowing with its Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2015 and 2016.

Merry served as the Vice Chair of the US Olympic Committee National Governing Body Council from 2007-2014 and chaired an US Olympic Committee Oversight Committee in 2013. He was the USRowing National Federation Representative at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and Team Leader at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Glenn held management roles earlier in his career with the Indiana University Alumni Association and Rotary International.

Merry is a graduate of the Masters Program in Sports Management – MEMOS, International Olympic Committee (IOC), University Poitiers, France and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from State University of New York at Albany, where he rowed from 1987-1990.

Disabled Sports USA is governed by its board of directors, which consists of corporate and nonprofit leaders as well as athlete representatives who share a commitment to providing sports opportunities for people with disabilities. Disabled Sports USA's board includes John Blossom (President), Retired Army Captain William (Will) Reynolds III (Vice President), Keri Serota (Secretary), Alexander (Alf) Garner, Marya Propis, Nicole Roundy and Katrina Shaklee.[31]


Disabled Sports USA administers three national awards for individuals or organizations who have made significant achievements in disabled sports.

National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame AwardEdit

The Disabled Hall of Fame Award recognizes outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to disabled skiing in two categories: Recreational/Developmental and Competition.[32] The award in the Recreational/Development category recognizes an individual who has a minimum of five-years of experience in the disabled skiing field and has made a significant contribution to the field, including innovative techniques, specialized equipment, program development, education or public relations. The award in the Competition category recognizes an individual (participant or coach), who has been active in disabled ski racing for a minimum of three years. Race results, team participation, innovative coaching techniques, and event promotions are considered for this category. Competitive racers and coaches must be retired from active racing or coaching for a minimum of three years prior to nomination.

National Ski Hall of Fame Website.
The National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame Award[33]
Year Competition Recreation/Development
2018 Willie Stewart John Humbrecht
2017 Mary Riddell Geoff Krill
2016 Jon "JK" Kreamelmeyer Kirsten Atkins
2015 Brian Santos, Ray Watkins Bill Bowness
2014 Candace Cable Katherine Hayes-Rodriguez
2013 Jason Lalla Gene Gamber
2012 Muffy Davis Kathy Chandler
2011 Monte Meiers Dr. Bob Harney
2010 Sarah Will Meeche White
2009 Steve Cook Bob Meserve
2008 Sarah Billmeier Bobby Palm
2007 Greg Manino Peter Axelson
2006 Chris Waddell Sandy Trombetta
2003 Jim Martinson Beth Fox, Doug Keil
2001 Fred Tassone Gwen Allard, Dr. Duane Messner, Dr. Frand Chang
2000 Danny Puffpaff Norbert Fischer
1999 Shannon Bloedel Dollie Armstrong
1998 David Jamison Rod Hernley
1997 Doug Pringle Hal O’Leary
1996 Jack Benedick Jim Winthers & Paul Leimkuehler
1995 Diana Golden Willie Williams

Jim Winthers Volunteer AwardEdit

The Jim Winthers Volunteer Award recognizes life-time contributions and significant achievements in furthering the mission of Disabled Sports USA.[34] Nominees for this award must have contributed a minimum of 10 years of service to Disabled Sports USA or one of its chapters. The Jim Winthers Volunteer Award is named in honor of Jim Winthers, a WWII veteran who was a member of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division- the Skiing 10th — an elite group specifically trained for alpine warfare. He eventually became a pioneer in teaching adaptive skiing, beginning with two friends who became amputees in the war; he taught them to ski on one leg using techniques he was in Europe. Jim Winthers, with the support of other veterans, founded Disabled Sports USA in 1967.

The Jim Winthers Volunteer Award[34]
Year Awardee
2018 Mark Kulzer
2017 Steve Goodwin
2016 Earl Johnson
2015 Tony Santilli
2014 Tom Trevithick
2013 Liz Craveiro
2012 Al Kaye
2011 Mike "Milty" Miltner
2010 Michael Zuckerman
2009 Bill Bowness
2008 Dr. Bob Harney
2007 Bart Dekker
2006 Bill Demby
2005 John and Cathy Sarubbi
2004 Beth Fox
2003 Susan Michalski
2002 Bob Guerrero
2000 Katherine Hayes Rodriguez
1999 Gwen Allard
1997 Mike Hulett
1996 James Voltz
1995 James Thweat
1994 Doug Sato
1992 Hal O’Leary
1991 Jan Morrissey
1990 Rod Hernley
1989 Fred Tassone
1988 Ed Lucks and United Airlines Volunteers
1987 Mary and Earl Plummer
1986 Dr. Duane Messner
1985 David Spencer
1984 Jack Benedick
1983 Ben Allen
1982 Paul Liemkuehler
1981 Jerry Groswald
1980 Bill Stieler

The Dr. Robert Harney Leadership AwardEdit

The Dr. Robert Harney Leadership Award is an annual award to honor a company, organization or an individual that has demonstrated and provided extraordinary leadership in the Disabled Sports/Adaptive Sports Movement. “Dr. Bob” was an adaptive sports pioneer and tireless leader in Paralympic sports at the local, national and international levels. He was an innovator in the national and international medial classification of athletes with disabilities. As a volunteer, Harney was on the International Paralympic Medical Classification team in the sports of alpine skiing and cycling and attended every winter and summer games since 1998. Dr. Bob was also a Professional Ski Instructor and a full-time practicing orthopedic surgeon in Boston, and a dedicated team physician at Winthrop and Melrose High School in his hometown of Winthrop, MA for more than 20 years.

Year Awardee
2018 Lakeshore Foundation
2017 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
2016 Robert "Bob" Meserve
2015 Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors
2014 USA Hockey
2013 Adaptive Spirit[35]
2012 The Hartford



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Disabled Sports USA. Guidestar. September 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Disabled Sports USA website
  3. ^ Candus Thomson, "Disabled veterans vow to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro", Baltimore Sun, July 31, 2010
  4. ^ Guidestar website
  5. ^ Jamie Francisco, "Wheelchair hockey teams bash with the best", Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2006
  6. ^ Jay Apperson, "Disabled athletes play hard", Baltimore Sun, December 14, 1999
  7. ^ Megan Crandall, "BLM Enters Into Memorandum of Understanding with Disabled Sports USA" Archived 2017-01-27 at the Wayback Machine, US Bureau of Land Management Press Release, December 24, 2011
  8. ^ Chris Durso, "Leading By Example: Kirk Bauer Able-Bodied" Archived June 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Convene Magazine, June, 2010
  9. ^ "United States Olympic Committee website". Archived from the original on 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  10. ^ A.G. Sulzberger, "Accustomed to Wheels, Thrill-Seeking Injured Veterans Take Wing", The New York Times, September 3, 2011
  11. ^ Editor, "Paralympic News and Notes" Page 16, Olympic Beat, May/June, 2009
  12. ^ Betta Ferrendelli, "DSUSA Ski Spectacular Draws 700 Participants", O & P Edge, February, 2012
  13. ^ Connie Lawn, "Preview of the Hartford Ski Spectacular 2011", The Huffington Post, November 28, 2011
  14. ^ Clayton Culp, "Organization's mission: 'We use sports to rebuild lives' ", Knoxville News Sentinel, December 12, 2010
  15. ^ Barb Berggoetz, "Ind. State Fair stage collapse victim learned to persevere", The USA Today, December 12, 2011
  16. ^ Michael Myser, "Open Source for the Slopes", Wired Magazine, December 11, 2003
  17. ^ Bill Redeker, "Iraq War Amputees Ski Toward Recovery", ABC News, April 4, 2004
  18. ^ Anne Lang, "Saved By Friendship", People Magazine, February 9, 2004
  19. ^ Alecia Acuna, "Wounded warriors hit the slopes" Archived 2011-10-20 at the Wayback Machine, FOX News, December 10, 2010
  20. ^ O&P Edge Editor, "Three Amputee Veterans Summit Kilimanjaro", The O&P Edge, August 13, 2010
  21. ^ The Columbian, "Hood to Coast is worth the pain - Wounded warriors find reward in the grueling relay race", The Columbian, September 4, 2012
  22. ^ O&P Edge Editor, "Disabled Sports USA Announces 2011 National SkiTour Series", The O&P Edge Magazine, February 2011
  23. ^ Ski Channel Television website
  24. ^ Editor, "Adaptive Sports are Heating Up" Archived 2012-06-01 at the Wayback Machine, Action Online, Magazine of the United Spinal Association, May 7, 2010
  25. ^ Tina Daunt, "Climbing the ropes to ability", Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2004
  26. ^ Challenge Magazine - Disabled Sport USA website
  27. ^ Diana Golden Opportunity Fund - Disabled Sport USA website
  28. ^ David Krane, "Sports and Employment Among People with Disabilities", Harris Interactive, February 12, 2009
  29. ^ Testimony of Julia Ray, "Meeting the Needs of Injured Veterans in the Military Paralympic Program" Archived 2012-05-01 at the Wayback Machine, House Committee on Veterans Affairs, July 29, 2009
  30. ^ O&P Edge Editor, "DSUSA Participants Have Doubled Employment Rates", The O&P Edge, May 20, 2009
  31. ^ Disabled Sports USA website = Board Members
  32. ^ The National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame website
  33. ^ Disabled Sports USA website
  34. ^ a b The Disabled Sports USA website
  35. ^ Bob Thompson, "Cable Industry Organization Adadptive Spirit Honored By Disabled Sports USA", Adaptive Spirit Press Release, December 10, 2013

External linksEdit