Wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular wheelchair sports. It’s played by athletes with multiple types of disabilities, including: spinal cord injury, amputation, spina bifida, arthritis, knee problems, post-polio syndrome and cerebral palsy. A classification system, where athletes are assigned a number based on their level of disability (1.0 for the most disabled, going up in 0.5 increments to 4.5 for the least disabled), ensures that athletes of all types of disabilities can compete together.
Fun fact: in Canada, wheelchair basketball is an integrated sport, which means that able-bodied people can compete up to a provincial level. That means that you can get your family and friends involved in this fast-based, exciting sport.
Wheelchair basketball is:
• Played by athletes between the ages of 6 and 50+. Most provinces have junior programs.
• Played by both men and women.
• An integrated sport, meaning able-bodied people can play.
• Played by people with many different types of disabilities, including spinal cord injury, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, amputation, arthritis or knee injuries. Some quadriplegics, however, may find this game challenging and may be better suited for a sport like wheelchair rugby.
• A fast-paced, high-intensity game. At elite levels, there is often quite a bit of contact.
• Has nearly identical rules to able-bodied basketball and is played on the same court with the same hoop height. The only major rule difference is that there is no double-dribble rule in wheelchair basketball.
• A team sport, perfect for people who want a social element to their fitness.
• Played at many different levels across the province, from beginners to elite. In Europe, there is even a professional wheelchair basketball league where top players make a living playing the sport.