Interested in basketball? Wheelchair basketball is one of the fastest growing adaptive sports in the world and for a reason—it’s as demanding as traditional basketball and a lot of fun to watch and participate in.
It began in 1946 at Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals across the U.S. where World War II veterans were being treated for various degrees of paralysis. As they adapted to living differently post injury, they were looking for ways to stay active and have fun. It became very popular and competitive. In fact, it was one of the foundation sports at the first international Paralympic games held in Rome in 1960.
A unique aspect of the sport is how players are ranked. It provides an even level of competition. Players receive a point classification related to their level of functional mobility. The higher the player’s classification, the greater the player’s functional mobility. Point classifications range from 1.0 for the lowest level of functional mobility to 4.5 for the highest – the closest to an able-bodied player. There are five players per team allowed on the court at any given time and to ensure there is even competition, the point classification of all five players cannot exceed 15 points.
Today the US National Wheelchair Basketball Association has over 200 teams across twenty-two conferences and seven divisions including men’s, women’s, intercollegiate and junior.
Something for everyone! But don’t worry, you don’t have to be an elite player or on a Paralympic team to play some hoops! Somewhere in your community it’s being played by men, women and kids right now.
Here are a few sources to help you find a team
- Disabled Sports USA - Chapters by state: www.disabledsportsusa.org/chapters/
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Sports clubs by state: www.va.gov/adaptivesports/va_clubFinder.asp
- International Wheelchair Basketball Federation www.iwbf.org/
- American Association of adaptedSports® Programs, Inc. www.adaptedsports.org/adaptedsports/athletics/athletics_wc_basketball.html
- Blaze Sports America (in GA, VA, FL) www.blazesports.org/what-we-do/blaze-network/
- National Wheelchair Basketball Association: www.nwba.org/
- The International Paralympics Organization www.paralympic.org/rome-1960
- International Wheelchair basketball Foundation www.iwbf.org/index.php/2014-08-30-02-54-24/who-we-are
- Disabled Sports USA - www.disabledsportsusa.org/