Adaptive Sports

Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair basketball is accessible to those with a variety of physical disabilities. The game most of the rules and standards of basketball, with a few adaptations for dribbling and contact.  It maintains a 10-foot high basketball hoop and standard court.  All of the NCAA rules apply with a few exceptions:

  • There is no double dribble rule
  • Teams can’t have more than 12 classification points on the court*
  • Instead of three second lane violation for offensive players, it’s four seconds

(*Players are given classifications based on the level of their disability – Class III for the most mobility to Class 1 for the least.)

Wheelchair Design
Players use lightweight wheelchairs with pressured tires that allow for quick and easy maneuvering.  The basic design of wheelchairs for basketball is optimized for enhanced stability with a low seat and wheels that are angled out.  Even more specialized wheelchairs are available for specific positions.  Wheelchairs for forwards and centers have higher seats to give them more reach for shooting and catching rebounds.  Guards have lower seats to give them more stability.

How to Play (3:48)
It is essentially the same game, yet contains slightly different rules to accommodate wheelchairs.  Learn how to play from a Paralympic gold medalist in this adaptive sports video.


Differences from Traditional Basketball (:50)


16 Things That Might Surprise You About Wheelchair Basketball
Article by Robyn Vinter, BuzzFeed Contributor

National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA)
The NWBA is a non-profit organization which serves as the national governing body for men’s, women’s and youth wheelchair basketball in the United States. Over 2,000 member athletes compete on more than 185 teams throughout the United States.

International Wheelchair Basketball Association (IWBF)
The IWBF is the governing body for wheelchair basketball and is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the sole competent authority.

Additional Resources
Learn about para sports events to get an idea about what’s out there and to find some ways to participate.

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