Wheelchair Basketball is a team sport for athletes with physical disabilities. The game is based on traditional basketball, but with adapted rules and requirements to meet the needs of athletes in wheelchairs.
The history of Wheelchair Basketball dates back to World War II, when injured soldiers returned from the war and were looking for ways to stay active. In the 1940s, the first Wheelchair Basketball team was formed in the United States. In the 1950s, the game became popular in Europe and Asia.
Wheelchair Basketball games are played with a team of 5 players on the court. Each player has a certain number of points that reflects his or her handicap, ranging from 1.5 to 4.5. We call this the rating system. The total number of points of the players on the field cannot exceed 14, ensuring a fair and competitive playing field.
A Wheelchair Basketball game consists of four quarters of 10 minutes each. If the game ends in a tie, there is an additional five-minute overtime period. Each team consists of five players and the goal of the game is to score as many points as possible by throwing the ball into the opponent’s basket. Players may hold and dribble the ball, and they must pass or bounce the ball to give it to other team members.
During the game, there are some important terms and rules in Wheelchair Basketball, including:
- Shot clock: Each team has 24 seconds to make a shot at the basket. If this time limit is exceeded, the ball and the right to play is awarded to the opponent.
- Dribbling: A player may simultaneously propel the wheelchair and bounce the ball, but if the ball is picked up and/or placed on the player’s lap, the player is only allowed to dribble twice before having to shoot, pass or dribble. There is no rule for double dribbling in wheelchair basketball.
- Fouls: The wheelchair is considered part of the player’s body in relation to establishing responsibility for contact on the court, such as in attacking, blocking, going out of bounds and other violations. A technical foul is given if a player lifts his/her legs to gain advantage or lifts out of the wheelchair. Players must remain firmly in their seats and may not use their lower limbs to steer or gain advantage.