Junior Nationals

The Adaptive Sports USA's Junior Nationals is hosted by Turnstone in Fort Wayne, Indiana this year and two of Arizona Disabled Sports' athletes will be in attendance. Matthew Geib and Valeria Duron are both archers with the organization and we are so excited to announce that they have qualified and will be attending Junior Nationals from July 21st-24th!


Matthew Geib is a 19-year-old archer who has just completed his second archery season with AzDS. Matthew has a traumatic brain injury that he sustained in February of 2016 after being hit by a school bus. Matthew had no prior shooting experience before participating in the archery program with AzDS, and now he has qualified for Junior Nationals with a score of 602 at the Desert Challenge Games. Matthew says that the AzDS archery program has led him to a great group of friends that accepts him for who he is and doesn’t judge him; he has several other participants that he considers to be friends now. His biggest accomplishment this season was beating the goal that John Dee set for him at the beginning of the season. We are so excited to have him traveling to Fort Wayne, Indiana to compete at Junior Nationals!


Valeria Duron is turning 17 years old this month and she has been in AzDS’s archery program for two years now. Valeria has cerebral palsy and she was born at 29 weeks old, so her dad calls her a real miracle. This is her first trip to Junior Nationals, and she has qualified for the event with a score of 626 at the Desert Challenge Games. Valeria thinks that the archery program has changed her life a lot, specifically by motivating her in all aspects of her life and by giving her a group of friends. Valeria also beat the goal that Coach John Dee set for her at the beginning of the season. While Valeria is still rather new to archery, she has a lot of skill and is planning to attend open tryouts for the Paralympics in September of this year. We can’t wait to watch her compete at Junior Nationals!

Welcome Rhonda, Taylor, and Justin!


Arizona Disabled Sports Welcomes New Employees!


Executive Director, Rhonda Carlson

Rhonda has worked for The Center for Health Affairs, a nonprofit metropolitan hospital association based in Cleveland, Ohio, for the past ten years, working in progressively responsible operations, business development and account management roles. She serves on the advisory boards for the United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Carmella Rose Health Foundation, two nonprofit organizations aimed at improving the health of individuals living in the greater Cleveland area. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from The Ohio State University and recently graduated summa cum laude from Cleveland State University, receiving a master’s degree in public administration with a focus in nonprofit management. Rhonda is passionate about serving others, which inspired her continued education, career goals, and active volunteer involvement in her community. In her spare time, Rhonda enjoys playing and watching sports (she is really looking forward to being able to golf year-round!), baking, attending outdoor concerts and spending quality time with her family. She looks forward to serving in her new role as Executive Director so that she can advance the inclusive mission of Arizona Disabled Sports to allow athletes throughout the state to participate in the sports they love and not sit on the sidelines!


Program Supervisor, Taylor Wilson

Taylor will graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Management with a concentration in Recreational Therapy in August of 2018. She is currently completing a full-time internship at the City of Mesa in their adaptive recreation programs as the last requirement of her course work. She began working for Arizona Disabled Sports four years ago as a part-time staff as a Facility Supervisor of the Broadway Recreation Center as well as a coach for the kayaking, cycling and air rifle programs. In addition, Taylor has also spent the past three summers working for Camp Fiesta, an adaptive summer camp for individuals with intellectual disabilities offered by the City of Mesa. These combined experiences fueled her love for adaptive sports and recreation and inspired a change in her declared major in college from chemical engineering to recreational therapy. She has a deep love for health and fitness and in her free time enjoys hiking, cycling, fishing, camping and any other outdoor recreation. She loves AzDS as well as its community and cannot wait to start her position as a Program Supervisor to oversee and develop adaptive sports and recreation programs. 


Program Supervisor, Justin Murphy

Justin is from Kennett Square Pennsylvania where his love of all sports developed at a young age. Justin attended Slippery Rock University where he completed his Masters in Adaptive Physical Activity, as well as his bachelors in Sport Management. During college, Adaptive sports became his true passion working with many different organizations including Special Olympics, Envision Blind Sports, Pittsburgh Blind Ice Hockey, College Goalball and others along the way. Most recently he has worked for Steamboat STARS as an Adaptive Ski instructor. When not working Justin enjoys playing all kinds of sports, exploring new places, and cooking his dinner in a crockpot. Justin believes that everyone should be able to participate in sports, regardless of ability, and believes that there are endless possibilities for the future of adaptive sports.

Fun Facts about Justin:  He’s a PSIA Level 1 alpine ski instructor, an Eagle Scout, and was a member of the 2017 Collegiate Goalball National Championship Team.



Congratulations Mark Grant and AzDS!

Mark Grant, former City of Mesa Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities employee of 30 years is still giving back to support people with disabilities. He is now the President of the Board of Directors for Arizona Disabled Sports. He was integral in starting the non-profit organization nearly 30 years ago and stays active as a coach, volunteer, fundraiser, and activist.

The Arizona Cardinals Community Quarterback Award recognizes outstanding volunteers in the state of Arizona ages 13 and up. A panel of community leaders determine the award recipients and award a total of $20,000 to the charitable organizations they serve. This program honors individuals who exemplify leadership, dedication, and commitment to improving the communities in which they live through volunteerism.

Arizona Disabled Sports and the Team Mesa Bulldogs are proud to announce that Mark Grant was one of the finalists this year. Just prior to the game on Christmas Eve, Mark was presented with a big check for $4,000 to be donated to AzDS. Mark is an incredible leader and we are very fortunate to have him on our team! Congratulations Mark!

Award description: http://www.azcardinals.com/community/programs/quarterback-award.html