Are you interested in playing wheelchair basketball? It is fast-paced, competitive, and one of the most popular accessible sports in the United States. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) has 225 teams across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and is the largest Disabled Sports Organization in the world.
In 1949, Timothy Nugent founded the NWBA. Since then, the NWBA has consisted of thousands of wheelchair athletes of all ages and backgrounds. The league has various divisions ranging from ages 5 to 18 for junior divisions as well as seven divisions for adults. Since 1960, Paralympians have competed in wheelchair basketball at the Summer Paralympic Games. As the sport has grown, universities have added collegiate wheelchair basketball teams. Notable universities include the University of Alabama, the University of Missouri, and Auburn University.
Wheelchair basketball retains most of the major rules and scoring as basketball. Athletes compete on a standard-size basketball court and a standard-height 10-foot basketball hoop. However, some rules have been modified. For example, “traveling” occurs when the athlete touches their wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball. Once the wheels are touched twice, the ball must be passed, bounced, or shot.
The wheelchairs used for wheelchair basketball are designed for enhanced stability, featuring lower seats and wheels angled outward. The type of wheelchair can vary depending on the position that the player is playing. For example, the wheelchair used by a forward might have a higher seat to increase the player’s reach for rebounds. A guard’s wheelchair will have a lower center of gravity for ball handling and moving quickly down the court.
Why Get Involved with Wheelchair Basketball?
Wheelchair basketball is fun, exciting, and a great way to stay active and compete with others. It also offers a way to connect with other athletes in the community.
According to five-time Paralympian Christina Schwab, “There is so much to love about the sport especially the opportunities. Once I found wheelchair basketball every door opened for me.