Welcome to the Disabled Athletes Sports Association, where everyone who lives with a physical disability is given the opportunity to participate in adaptive sports, recreational programs, and fitness activities designed to improve self-esteem, strength, independence, and well-being while instilling family values.
At DASA, all children, adults, and military veterans with disabilities are encouraged to seek their highest level of independence for daily functioning and productivity and become involved to the fullest extent with their non-disabled peers and their community as a whole.
We support athletes with:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Spina Bifida
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Visual Impairment
DASA Video Testimonial
About The Disabled Athlete Sports Association
Our History & Mission
In 1997, Kelly Behlmann gave physical therapy to children with disabilities. Kelly dreamed of providing an affordable service to her kiddos that emphasized the abilities each child had rather than focusing on their disabilities.
What began as a dream has gone far beyond anything Kelly could have EVER imagined. While DASA maintains its original goals and core values, the organization has since expanded into a successful sports club that grooms national champions, international record-breakers, and Paralympic gold medalists.
Along the way, DASA also started community education programs, personal care training, and social outlets for youth with disabilities, as well as their families.
At DASA, our St. Louis, St. Charles, and Columbia, Missouri athletes with physical, visual, and hearing disabilities discover ABILITIES that take them places even we might not have imagined possible.
Our Mission: All of those who live with a physical or visual disability or are deaf or hard of hearing will be given the opportunity to participate in sports and fitness activities designed to improve self-esteem, growth, and well-being while instilling family values.
Over the past 20 years, we have watched thousands of DASA athletes accomplish astonishing feats and dramatically change their lives. Our reward is their achievements – it is our why.
- We have witnessed the therapeutic and psychosocial effects of swimming lessons help a child learn to talk.
- We have championed athletes from learning to play sled hockey to representing our country in the Paralympics and taking home the gold.
- We have watched daily functioning, endurance, and motor processing improve from martial arts.
- We have watched wheelchair-bound individuals take their first steps in our Abilities Gym.
DASA staff, volunteers, interns, and our athletes’ families never tire of witnessing children, adults, injured military veterans and first-responders discover they are capable of so much more than what our society often tells them, but as an organization, we are far from crossing any finish lines.
These feats would not be possible without the support and generosity of our donors, sponsors, volunteers, interns, community, and our efforts to provide financial help as we strive to provide more opportunities for people with disabilities. We want them all to have the chance to become athletes; to seek and find independence, self-confidence, and success on the playing field that is life.
M.O.R.E Health & Wellness
The M.O.R.E. concept is a strategy DASA utilizes to promote overall health and wellness, improve strength and endurance, and enhance learning best practices for daily functional activities such as transfers and chair mobility, among other abilities necessary for increased independence and a higher quality of life.
Through involvement in sport and fitness, individuals decrease the risk of common ailments, such as pressure sores, bladder infections, weight gain, or loss of strength and endurance, all associated with a sedentary lifestyle or the result of a lack of necessary therapy that is vital to staying fit.
DASA hopes to encourage a holistic, healthy lifestyle through a family-friendly environment implemented by the M.O.R.E. concept, and therefore empower individuals with physical disabilities to live to the best of their natural abilities with greater emotional and physical well-being.
U.S. Paralympic Sport Club St. Louis
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has recognized DASA as a U.S. Paralympic Sport pipeline, which carries with it the responsibilities of educating the community about disabled sports and providing Olympic-driven sports opportunities for people with disabilities. This includes Paralympic Experiences and Athlete Identification Camps that also serve as a pipeline for the U.S. Paralympic Team.
To date, DASA is proud to celebrate 3 Paralympic gold medalists in the sport of sled hockey, a Team USA Assistant Coach and athlete in Wheelchair Rugby, and a 3-time Paralympic medalist in the sport of track, with plans to encourage many more Paralympians.