What is it?
Wheelchair basketball follows the same rules as NCAA basketball with a couple of exceptions. There is a four second lane violation for offensive players instead of the standard three. Also, players are given classifications according to the level of their disability. Players with the greatest amount of mobility are given “Class III” classifications, while players with the least amount are graded as “Class I.” Teams are not allowed to have more than 12 classification points on the court at any one time.
Who can play?
Anyone who has a disability that prevents them from playing able-body basketball is eligible to play wheelchair basketball. Common disabilities amongst players include spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and amputations.
Wheelchair basketball got its start in Veterans Affairs Hospitals across America after wounded veterans returned from WWII. At first, these veterans, who were now forced to use wheelchairs, would play informal “pick-up” games against each other. These recreational games began to branch out into the disabled communities across the country after veterans began to leave the hospitals and form teams at local gyms. In 1949, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) was established and became the governing body of the sport. Today, the NWBA governs over 185 teams across the United States.
Wheelchair users only need the standard basketball and hoop to play.
Class I - Complete motor loss at T-7 or above, or comparable disability where there is total loss of muscle function originating at or above T-7.
Class II - Complete motor loss originating at T-8 and descending through and including L-2 where there may be motor power of hips and thighs. Also included in this class are amputees with bilateral hip disarticulation.
Class III - All other physical disabilities as related to lower extremity paralysis or paresis originating at or below L-3. All lower extremity amputees are included in this class except those with bilateral hip disarticulation. (See Class II.)
Each classification will be given a numerical value or factor as follows:
Class I = 1 value point
Class II = 2 value points
Class III = 3 value points
At no time in a game shall a team have players participating with a total of value points greater than twelve, nor more than three Class III players playing together at the same time.
If, at any time during a game, it is identified that a team exceeds the “player point limit,” or that more than three Class III players are playing together, at the same time, an administrative technical foul will be called against the violating team and handled as are all other administrative technical fouls, with a correction in the lineup being made at that time.
National Governing Body:
National Wheelchair Basketball Association – http://www.nwba.org/
International Governing Body:
International Wheelchair Basketball Federation - http://www.iwbf.org/