DASA Program Descriptions

Are you ready to get fit and strong? Check out DASA’s wide range of disability sports, recreation, and fitness programs in the St. Louis and Columbia areas. Our programs are for those with physical, visual, and hearing disabilities, as well as military veterans and injured first responders, ages 5 and up unless noted.

The majority of our sports programs are part of the nationwide athlete identification and development strategy that introduces Americans with Paralympic-eligible impairments to Paralympic sport and leads them into the athlete pipeline for the U.S. Paralympic Team. Our training programs will help you reach peak performance and take your first step toward the podium!

Annual Schedule of Programs & Events

DASA offers many adaptive sports programs annually and seasonally. We also hold once-a-year events and different types of fun days for our athletes and their families, so be sure to go to either the St. Louis Programs page, the Columbia Programs page, or our calendar to see exactly when and where programs are being held, as they are often different from season-to-season.

Adaptive Training (AT) & Fitness

For Post-Therapy & Paralympic Training

Looking to build strength? Flexibility? Stability? Speed? Whatever your goals may be, these one-on-one individualized personal training sessions can help! Each session is conducted in our Ability Gym by exercise physiologists who specialize in working with clients with physical disabilities.

These sessions provide an opportunity to continue physical activity after therapy; to become more active and physically fit; and/or to enhance strength and performance for a specific sport or Paralympian training. With AT, you will rediscover and focus on the ABILITIES you do have.

  • When: By appointment.
  • Where: Ability Gym, 1600 Mid Rivers Mall Circle, St. Peters (INSIDE Mid Rivers Mall).

Archery

Recreational & Competitive

What started as a recreational activity for DASA athletes has become a full-session sports program with a competitive team of archers to show for it.  DASA’s “founding” competitive archer, Brian Cressler, has limited use of one arm but became a successful archer using an adapted mouthpiece that allows him to draw back and release arrows with his mouth. Along with his father, Don Cressler, Brian has been an integral part of building and maintaining DASA’s awesome archery program.

Our adaptive archery program can also help you train and qualify for the Paralympic Archery team. Adaptive equipment is available.

Boccia

Recreational & Competitive

Boccia is a game of strategy and accuracy that was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy. Now, the sport includes athletes with impairments that affect motor skills. The sport is played on a flat, smooth surface, where players must throw or roll colored balls as close as possible to a white target ball, known as the “jack.” The player, pair, or team with the most balls near the jack is the winner. Boccia has been a Paralympic Sport since its introduction in the 1984 New York Paralympic Games.

Golf

Recreational Program

Adapted golf is played just like able-bodied golf except with modifications. Modifications can start with way the game is learned through various forms of instruction and carry on through play. During the game, players may be taught to swing with an adapted technique and adapted equipment may be used.

Para Powerlifting

Recreational & Competitive, Ages 11 and Up

Para Powerlifting is open to male and female athletes over age 11 and up with the following 8 eligible physical impairments and a range of physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, lower-limb amputation, poliomyelitis.

  • Impaired muscle power
  • Impaired passive range of movement
  • Limb deficiency
  • Leg length difference
  • Short stature
  • Hypertonia
  • Ataxia
  • Athetosis

The bench press is the sport’s single discipline, with 10 different categories based on body weight. Competitors must lower the bar to the chest, hold it motionless on the chest, and then press it upwards to arms’ length with locked elbows. Athletes are given three attempts and the winner is the athlete who lifts the highest number of kilograms. This is also a Paralympic Sport.

Power Soccer

Recreational & Competitive

Power soccer allows those who have never had the opportunity to participate in sports the ability to play the most popular sport in the world. Even if you have very limited physical abilities you can participate and find great success. On the power soccer court, every athlete is equal.

Some players may walk between games while others use power chairs as their primary means of mobility. DASA Power Soccer Teams have athletes as young as five, as well as a number of older adults. Power soccer is played on a basketball court and each team is allowed 4 players on the court at one time (4 on 4).

A power soccer chair is a specially designed power wheelchair capable of going up to 6mph and is equipped with a front bumper guard used for dribbling, passing, and shooting an oversized soccer ball. Just like its able-bodied counterpart, power soccer takes a great deal of strategy, coordination, and skill to become great. You can play power soccer as a recreational sport or graduate to a competitive team.

DASA SLSG Flames are the beginner team. DASA SLSG Firecrackers are the competitive intermediate team and DASA SLSG Cyclones are the competitive advanced team.

Rock Climbing

Recreational Program

Rock climbing is an amazing sport for athletes of any age. This sport is therapeutic because it encourages stretching and reaching in a fun way. At DASA, we make sure that every athlete can make it to the top! We have experienced rock climbers making sure this activity is completely safe for our athletes and volunteers.

Sled Hockey

Recreational & Competitive

Sled hockey is an exciting alternative sport that follows rules similar to able-bodied hockey. Instead of using ice skates, sled hockey players sit on a specially designed sled (sledge) equipped with two skate blades. Players use two short hockey sticks, not only for shooting and passing, but also for propelling themselves across the ice with the metal picks attached to the top of the shafts.

Legal body contact and raised puck shooting are as much a part of sled hockey as they are in traditional hockey. You can play recreationally, graduate to a competitive team, or hone your skills and go on to become a Sled Hockey Paralympian!

DASA Blues is the competitive travel team. DASA B Team is the Adult Developing Team. DASA Jr. Blues is the competitive travel team for kids. The Development Sled Hockey program is for Jr. developing players.

DASA is proud of our Sled Hockey Paralympians who have helped Team USA bring home the gold in the last 3 Paralympic Games!

Super SCUBA Diving Day

Recreational Program

Join us for a day in the pool as we learn to SCUBA Dive and play in the pool! Siblings are allowed. The minimum age to participate in SCUBA is 10. If your child is 8 or 9-years old and interested, please contact Meghan at meghang@dasasports.org BEFORE you register him or her. No child under the age of 8 may register.

Swimming

Recreational & Competitive, Ages 2 and Up

Recreational swimming and swimming lessons emphasize core strength, body awareness, endurance, and water safety. We begin with basic full-body movement and letting the athlete get comfortable with their own abilities in the water.

DASA swimmers typically do not use flotation devices which helps with developing greater self-awareness of their body and their abilities in the water. As a swimmer progresses towards independence in their swim strokes, they are given the opportunity to move up to the DASA Swim Team or train for the Paralympics.

DASA has a recreational swim program and a competitive DASA Swim Team. To be on the swim team, a swimmer must be able to swim at least a 25-meter length of the pool independently and must be able to swim more than 10 laps in a one-hour practice session of any stroke independently.

Tennis

Recreational Program

Serve. Set. MATCH! WHEELCHAIR or STANDING tennis players are welcome! The game of wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis as endorsed by the International Tennis Federation, except the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. The player must return the ball before it hits the ground a third time. The wheelchair is part of the body and all applicable ITF Rules which apply to a player’s body shall apply to the wheelchair.

DASA can also help you up your game for the Paralympics!

Track & Field

Recreational & Competitive

Try your skills at racing on the track, throwing the shot-put, discus, and javelin, or flying high in the long jump! Try track and field recreationally for strength and endurance or go for the chance to be on the team.

The DASA Dynamite Track and Field team has been competing since 1998. The team consists of athletes competing in stand-up events, as well as athletes competing in racing chairs and field chairs. Athletes with little or no use of their legs typically use a racing chair to run (racing chair is more efficient if you also have functional use of both arms). Athletes with CP and Visual Impairments typically run.

Track and field events consist of those sanctioned by USA Track and Field. Like swimming, athletes compete against other athletes of the same age group and functional abilities. Track and Field is also a Paralympic Sport.

Wheelchair Basketball

Recreational & Competitive

Wheelchair basketball starts as a recreational activity where you learn skills and drills and receive coaching to be eligible for the competitive team. The St. Louis Junior Rolling Rams is a coed, competitive wheelchair basketball team made up of children ages 6 to 18.

You can also train to be on the Paralympic wheelchair basketball team!

Wheelchair basketball athletes do not have to use a wheelchair in everyday life to play wheelchair basketball. However, athletes do have to have an irreversible lower extremity disability which consistently interferes with functional mobility. Players do not need experience or a wheelchair to get started. We provide coaching, as well as wheelchairs for initial practice and play.

Skills & Drills: Learn skills and drills alongside the DASA Rolling Rams, our competitive team.

Wheelchair Rugby

Recreational & Competitive, Ages 12 and Up

Just like basketball, you start learning wheelchair rugby with skills and drills and benefit form coaching until you try out for the team, the St. Louis Spartans, or go all the way to the Paralympics!

Wheelchair Rugby (a.k.a. Quad Rugby or Murderball) is a simple game with complex strategies for playing both offense and defense. It is played with a ball similar to a volleyball on a basketball-size court with goal lines marked by cones and a lined-off “key” area.

The object of the game is to score a goal (1 point) by crossing the goal line with possession of the ball while the opposing team is defending that goal. The team with the most points when time runs out wins.

Quad Rugby is a full-contact sport, but no personal contact is allowed. Slapping, hitting, punching, gouging out eyes, biting off ears, etc. is not allowed and penalties are enforced, usually requiring time in the penalty box.

The DASA Spartans are the competitive travel team. The Spartans are a HARD HITTING, FAST MOVING, HIGH SCORING, QUICK PASSING, and ADRENALINE RUSHING wheelchair rugby team!

*For children ages 12-18, parental permission is required.

Yoga

Recreational Program

EVERYONE of any age can practice yoga! We offer classes lying on the ground, seated on the floor, seated in a chair or wheelchair, kneeling, or standing.

We begin by discovering what you can do and then we build a FUN yoga practice from there. Building a stronger core, back, and arms are important for everyone, but for someone with physical challenges, it helps them become more independent.

The breathing techniques incorporated throughout the class teach you how to become more mindful and how to use your breath to relax when you are upset, angry, or afraid. This mindfulness is important in helping to notice changes in your body so that you can be a strong advocate for yourself.

Disabled Sports USA – Move United & Paralympic Pipeline

All DASA’s athletic programs are in collaboration with and supported by Disabled Sports USA – Move United, the U.S. Paralympic Sport Club, and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.

To date, DASA celebrates 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. Go team DASA!

Register Today

If you are new to DASA you can register for any of our awesome sports or activities by going to our registration page and following our 2 simple steps. Once your new athlete form has been processed, we will be in touch personally to let you know when you may begin registration.

Get inspired, gain strength, and live the quality of life you deserve with DASA. We can’t wait to see you!

We would love to learn more about your fitness needs and how DASA can help, please do not hesitate to reach out!



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