Wheelchair basketball laid the foundations for the Paralympic Games. Originally devised as a rehabilitation activity for injured WWII veterans, wheelchair basketball fuelled the growth of parasports worldwide. Bringing together a combination of speed, skill, chair control and team spirit, wheelchair basketball captures the essence of Paralympic sport.
Today, wheelchair basketball is played in over 105 countries worldwide.
Brief overview of the rules
The rules of wheelchair basketball are similar to standing basketball – it is played by two teams of five players, the court is the same size and the hoop is at the same height. However, dribbling rules are different. Players must either pass or bounce the ball after every two pushes of the wheels on their chairs to avoid being penalised for travelling.
The wheelchair is considered part of the player’s body and the game. Wheelchairs have rigid frames, three or four wheels, as well as an anti-tip wheel at the rear to withstand repeated contact and collisions during matches. Each wheelchair is custom-made for the player to fit their body measurements, impairment and role on court.
Players are assigned point values based on their level of impairment, ranging from 1 to 4.5, with class 1 for the most severely impaired. Teams of five players must have no more than 14 points on the court at any one time at the Paralympic Games.
Paraplegia, quadriplegia or equivalent, amputation or equivalent, physical impairment limiting movement.
International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF): iwbf.org
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