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Wheelchair Basketball Rules, Players, and More

Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair basketball is a parasport that combines athleticism, skills and talent to show how sports can bring out the best in people, regardless of abilities. Wheelchair basketball captured the hearts of sports fans because of its competitive nature and buzzing plays.

This blog post from Gilani Engineering is an extensive guide about everything there is to know about wheelchair basketball.

What is wheelchair basketball?

Wheelchair basketball is an adaptive sport that lets individuals on a wheelchair play basketball. The rules are almost the same as regular basketball, the team with the most basketball wins. It’s a popular sport that is played professionally and included in the Paralympic Games.

How does wheelchair basketball work?

Wheelchair basketball is the same as regular basketball. Rules and regulations, specifications on the basketball court and equipment are the same. The only difference between the two is that the players are on a wheelchair and wheelchair basketball is not as physical as the regular one.

How is wheelchair basketball different to normal basketball?

The only major difference between wheelchair basketball with regular basketball is that the players are on wheelchairs. The size of the wheelchair basketball court, the size of the ball, the height of the basket are all the same.

Wheelchair Basketball Rules and Regulations

Wheelchair basketball rules are a bit similar to regular basketball with a few modifications. Rules and regulations include the following:

  1. The players need to always be in contact with their sports wheelchair. They’re not allowed to lift their legs, lift themselves out of their chair or use their lower limbs to navigate their chair.
  2. Players are classified and categorized depending on the severity of their disabilities. The more severe the disability is, the higher the score. To maintain the equality and fairness of talent and mobility in each team, players on the court must have the same total point value. 
  3. Wheelchair basketball is not as physical as regular basketball to avoid collisions and guarantee player safety. The rules enforce that there is very little physical touch between the players. 

Notable Wheelchair Basketball Players

There are famous wheelchair basketball players who have made significant contributions to make the sport well known. Notable players include:

Patrick Anderson

Wheelchair Basketball Rules, Players, and More
Place of BirthFergus, Ont.
ResidesBrooklyn, NY
OccupationAthlete / Musician
Club(s)Bidaideak Bilbao BSR

Considered as the best wheelchair basketball player in the world, Anderson led Team Canada to many world championships and Paralympic gold medals.

Annika Zeyen

Wheelchair Basketball Rules, Players, and More
Annika Zeyen | German Wheelchair Basketball Player
Place of BirthGermany
Birthday17 February 1985
European Titles WonSix European titles (382 times participating)
OccupationWheelchair basketball player
Club(s)ASV Bonn, RSV Lahn-Dill, BG Baskets and The University of Alabama
ClassificationWheelchair basketball 1.5, Wheelchair racing T54, Hand-biking H3

Annika is well known in the women’s wheelchair basketball. She started her paralympic career in 2004 and continued to play for Germany’s national team winning the European Championship titles in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

Matt Scott

Wheelchair Basketball Rules, Players, and More
Information Value
Gold Medals3 (2 Gold, 1 Bronze)
HometownDetroit, MI

Matt’s been playing wheelchair basketball since he was 14 years old. He’s one of the pioneers of Team USA competing at the Paralympic Games and World Championships.

Governing body

The governing body for wheelchair basketball is the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation or the IWBF in short. The IWBF is in charge of organizing international tournaments and advocates for the advancement and development of the sport. The main responsibilities of the IWBF include:

  1. Planning big sporting events like the Paralympic Games, the World Championships, and other local competitions.
  2. Establishing and enforcing rules and regulations to maintain the integrity of the sport such as using only allowed wheelchairs (no electric wheelchairs), and ensuring the safety of the players. 
  3. Supplying resources, support and assistance to wheelchair basketball organizations to encourage more athletes to participate in the sport.

Benefits of playing 

There are numerous benefits of wheelchair basketball that help people with disabilities. The advantages include physical, social and emotional benefits.

Physical fitness:  Playing wheelchair basketball exercises the entire body while enhancing strength, endurance, stamina, and cardiovascular health. Players use a manual wheelchair modified to be sturdier to accommodate the demands of the sport. Since the wheelchair is not motorized, the players exert all their efforts to wheel themselves across the court.

Social: Wheelchair basketball unites players and sports fans with and without disabilities. The sport promotes social inclusion and friendships regardless of abilities.

Emotional: Playing wheelchair basketball instills a sense of confidence in players, challenging stereotypes and opening more opportunities for people with disabilities, especially those who wish to play professionally. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How is wheelchair basketball played?

Wheelchair basketball is played similar to regular basketball except the players are in a wheelchair.

What is wheelchair basketball called?

Wheelchair basketball is officially called wheelchair basketball and is recognized globally as such.

When was wheelchair basketball invented?

Wheelchair basketball was invented in 1946 by injured World War II veterans who were looking for an activity they could pursue to help their rehabilitation.

How many players in wheelchair basketball?

Players in wheelchair basketball are also the same as regular basketball. Each team has 12 players with 5 players from each team playing on the court.