Creating community for individuals with physical disabilities through fitness, recreation & competitive sport

Interview of Adaptive Sports NW Executive Director Dave Hanna

Dave HannaDave Hanna is Vice President, Strategic Communications, for Adaptive Sports Northwest.

Jathan Janove: Tell us about your organization.

Dave Hanna: ASNW is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that focuses on recreation, fitness and competitive sport access to youth and adults with any form of physical disability.

Last year we served 492 participants, most of whom are children with some form of physical disability. We provided over 680 hours of programming with the help of 160 volunteers!

Our sports include rugby, basketball, soccer, volleyball, track & field, swimming, kayaking, goalball and handcycling. We are always looking to add to our menu of options and are currently considering tennis and other non-sport recreational activities such as bocce ball and croquet.

Jathan Janove: What is ASNW’s origin and how has it evolved over time?

Adaptive Sports NorthwestDave Hanna: ASNW has been providing services to individuals with physical disabilities in some form for over 36 years. Over time, it has evolved in function as well as in title, and ending in the current iteration as Adaptive Sports Northwest.

The organization historically has largely been a sponsor to basketball and rugby. Over the course of the last few years, there has been a significant and aggressive push to expand programming. In addition, we’ve gone from an organization with just one Executive Director to adding development and programming staff.

Jathan Janove: What are some of the organizations you partner or collaborate with?

Adaptive Sports NorthwestDave Hanna: We are proud and privileged to work with a lot of great organizations that help us with financial procurement, facilities, consulting and other services. They include: the Craig H Neilsen Foundation, O’Donnell, LLC law firm, The Autzen Foundation, Oregon Sports Action, The Standard Insurance, Portland Trailblazers, Nike, Providence, Multnomah Athletic Foundation, Adidas and the Portland Timbers.

In addition, we have a veritable army of individual supporters that provide much of the action-taking power of what we do.

Jathan Janove: Please share a success story.

Dave Hanna: I’ll share one that was personally significant for me. Not long into my position, I met a 12-year-old and her mother at an adaptive bike clinic event we hosted. While on vacation, the young lady fell six floors from a balcony. She lost use of her legs from the waist down. She had been in rehabilitation until that day at the bike event. As she rode a bike for the first time since her accident, her mother smiled and cried.

Frankly, the experience changed me as it did the mother and her daughter. In that moment, my understanding and appreciation for the work we do compounded.

Adaptive Sports NorthwestJathan Janove: What else would you like readers to know about your organization?

Dave Hanna: Certainly, if you believe you might qualify as a participant, don’t let anything stop you from contacting us as your very next action.

If not this organization, consider being a part of something that takes you outside your comfort zone. Challenge your current state of mind. I’ve been challenged to become immersed in a population that has such exceptional and dramatic stories. That said, I’ve been witness to the power of optimism, strength, confidence, fortitude and resiliency. I’m very proud to be a part of this organization.

Author’s Note: For more information, readers can contact Dave directly at