About Us


The Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled, also doing business as Arizona Disabled Sports (AzDS), is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing sports and recreation opportunities for individuals with all types of disabilities. This can include but is not limited to developmental disabilities, orthopedic impairment, sensory deficit and/or neurological involvement.

The Association provides year round sports training and competition through our Team Mesa adaptive programs for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In addition, sports and recreation opportunities are provided for individuals with physical disabilities through our Arizona Heat physically challenged programs.

The Association coordinates various resources in a cooperative effort with Mesa Public Schools and the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities to provide a comprehensive program of sports and recreation to individuals with disabilities of all ages.

Because of the unique nature of the programs offered by the organization, participation is not limited to residents of Mesa, Arizona. Many participants in the adaptive programs reside throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area and the entire state of Arizona. For this reason, among others, the organization began doing business as Arizona Disabled Sports in 2007.

Approximately 1000 local athletes participate in seasonal training sessions and competitions and an additional 500 athletes from across the country compete in various Association sponsored events. 

The Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled is incorporated as a non-profit organization through the Arizona Corporation Commission, recognized as a 501c3 corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. The Association is a chapter of Adaptive Sports USA, Disabled Sports USA and is a Paralympic Gold Level Sport Club. The organization serves as Team Mesa in competitions hosted by Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) but is a separate non-profit organization providing programs to athletes with intellectual disabilities in Mesa. 

The Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors.

The Frequently Asked Questions include details on the relationship between City of Mesa, Mesa Public Schools and MASD, the development of the trade name, the affiliation with SOAZ and more.

 

FAQ


What is MASD?

Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled (MASD) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing sports and recreation opportunities to individuals with all types of disability. MASD provides year round sports training and competition through Team Mesa adaptive programs for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In addition, sports and recreation opportunities are provided for individuals with physical disabilities through programs sanctioned by Adaptive Sports USA, Disabled Sports USA, US Association of Blind Athletes and US Paralympics. MASD also coordinates various resources in a cooperative effort with the Mesa Public Schools and the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities to provide a comprehensive program of sports and recreation to individuals with disabilities of all ages.

What is Arizona Disabled Sports (AzDS)?

Arizona Disabled Sports was developed as a trade name of MASD in 2007 to eliminate the assumption that athletes had to be from Mesa to participate in the MASD programs. The trade name is most beneficial when referring to the programs offered for individuals with physical disabilities because they travel from all across the state of Arizona to participate in the weekly programs. The trade name has also allowed the organization to expand resources throughout the state of Arizona rather than being restricted to Mesa. AzDS often hosts programs in Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale as well as recruits sponsors and grants from outside of Mesa. AzDS is a more functional trade name for the organization. The Mesa Association of Sports for the Disabled (MASD) remains the legal name of the non-profit organization.

Who is eligible to participate in the adaptive programs?

The Team Mesa programs include sports training, competitions, and recreational activities for individuals ages 8 through adulthood who are intellectually developmentally disabled. There is no maximum age limit on participation. The Physically Challenged programs are for people with physical disabilities age 6 through adulthood who have an orthopedic, neurological, and/or sensory impairment. This could include but is not limited to amputation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injury, or visual impairment.

What is the difference between Team Mesa and the Physically Challenged programs?

The Team Mesa adaptive programs are sports and recreation program for individuals with cognitive limitations. As a general rule, if your school-aged child has an IEP and recieves Special Ed. Services, the place for them to compete is with Team Mesa. This would include programs for the mildly intellectually disabled (MIID), the moderately intellectually disabled (MOID), the severely intellectually disabled (SID), and students with autism (AUT)

The Physically Challenged programs are designed for athletes who have an orthopedic, neurological or sensory impairment. This could include but is not limited to amputation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or visual impairment. As a general rule, potential athletes with physical disabilities who are still in school are those in the regular classrooms and may be receiving some OI or VI services.

If I have both a physical disability and an intellectual disability, what is the appropriate program for me?

MASD would suggest that the athlete with both a physical and intellectual disability try each program (Team Mesa and Physically Challenged) at least once to see where the best fit is for the individual OR sit through a very informal assessment interview with the program staff to see which program style would best benefit the athlete.

What is the difference between Special Olympics Arizona and MASD?

Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) is a non-profit organization serving individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities within the state of Arizona. MASD is a separate non-profit and is not affiliated with SOAZ. SOAZ hosts the annual state-wide competitions including Summer Games, Winter Games, and Fall Games. Team Mesa athletes that are sponsored by MASD may attend these state-wide competitions. SOAZ has developed several regional events as well. Team Mesa competes in the Four Peaks Area competitions throughout the year. MASD, the City of Mesa, and Mesa Public Schools support the planning and implementation of these area competitions and host several of them in Mesa.

Do the athletes have to live in Mesa to participate in an MASD program?

Due to the unique nature of the programs offered by MASD, participation is not limited to residents of Mesa, Arizona. Many participants in the programs reside throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area and the state of Arizona. Non-residents that register for the Team Mesa programs will pay a slightly higher registration rate with the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities.

Is there a charge/fee for the MASD programs?

Individuals participating in the adaptive programs will pay a minimal registration fee per sport. The registration fee structure for the Team Mesa programs is $22 ($26 non-Mesa resident) per sport each season. The registration and fees for Team Mesa programs are collected by the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities which is the partner organization of MASD. The registration fee structure for the Physically Challenged programs is $50 for one sport, $65 for two sports, and $80 for three or more sports per season. The registration and fees for the Physically Challenged programs are collected by MASD. The bowling programs have an additional minimal fee which is given directly to the bowling alley. Other costs that may occur throughout the season include travel to regional or national competitions, team clothing/uniforms (if kept by the athlete), etc.