Our History

FDOA Founder David Jones sit water skiingSportsAbility Alliance was founded in 1990 (originally as Florida Disabled Outdoors Association) by David Jones after a hunting accident left him with permanent paralysis on his left side. David took this “tragedy” as an opportunity to help people with disabilities (and all abilities) become more active, not only to improve their mobility, but also to improve their mental well-being. This has been his personal crusade ever since.

In 2002, SportsAbility Alliance hired Laurie LoRe-Gussak as their first Executive Director. Since then, the organization has grown and established itself as a leading not-for-profit in Florida and beyond.

In the early years, SportsAbility Alliance primarily provided outdoor adventures for people of all abilities. The organization is now providing and advocating for indoor, outdoor and even virtual and virtual reality activities. People of all abilities that participate in their events come from all over to experience activities such as boating, SCUBA, sky diving, art, rugby, archery, fishing, shooting sports, paddling and more.  Hands-on training has helped people of all abilities become more comfortable and confident in being active. In 2021, the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association changed its name to SportsAbility Alliance, a name that better reflects what they now do.

Milestones for the organization include:
1990 – The organization was established as a non-profit 501(c)(3); the first “SportsAbility” event was held and continues as a widely recognized event; The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26.
2002 – The first Executive Director was hired.
2008 – Big Bend Miracle Field was built; Miracle Sports program was initiated.
2021 – Florida Disabled Outdoors Association changed its name to SportsAbility Alliance.

The mission of SportsAbility Alliance is to enrich lives through accessible inclusive recreation for all. Programs include ALLOUT Adventures, RecConnect, SportsAbility and Miracle Sports. SportsAbility Alliance strives to promotes active leisure for life for improved physical, vocational, and emotional wellness for everyone.