An Introduction to Wheelchair Basketball
Wheelchair basketball is a sport very similar to and largely based upon the basics of (one would dare say “regular”) basketball. The core difference would be the target group of the players in mind. Namely, this sport is designed for the physically disabled, and more particularly those who are tied to their wheelchairs.
The sport is recognized by the IPC, and it is regulated by the IWBF (which stands for The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation).
It is estimated that, since the sport's founding it has become increasingly popular, so that nowadays about 100,000 people play wheelchair basketball – whether for recreational or professional sports reasons.
The sport is played by both girls and boys, as well as grown women and men. It is included in the Paralympic Games, which are held every four years, quite similarly to the Olympic Games.
The most prominent competitors come from: Canada, The United States, The United Kingdom, the Netherlands and, unsurprisingly, Japan.
The History of the Sport
A similar sport was invented in 1944., by Ludvig Guttman's rehabilitation program. Namely, the idea was to adopt the known rules of the existing game to a different scenario: one in which the players would be using wheelchairs to move about the court. This sport was known as Wheelchair “Netball”.
By 1946., the sport was mostly played by American soldiers who've returned from the Second Word War as disabled.
Later on, in 1948., the sport was officially introduced to the Games, but the wheelchair basketball as we know it today was first played in the 1956. International Stole-Mandeville Games in which the US team, “Pan Arm Jets” had won.
Wheelchair Basketball Championship
Since the '73., world championships of the game have been held, regularly. Bruges, Belgium was was the first city to host a Championship.
The Rules of the Game
As it has been noted before, wheelchair basketball tends to retain most of the rules of its predecessor. It also maintains a 10-foot basketball hoop as well as a standard basketball court. The exceptions, on behalf of the wheelchair-ridden players, include, for example: traveling – which, in this case, means that the player touches the wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling. In this case, the player must shoot or pass before touching the wheels again.
There are countries which also allow non-disabled players to participate. These include: Canada, Australia and England.
In wheelchair basketball, the players are classified per level and type of disability.