Wheelchair Basketball Overview
Wheelchair basketball is a sport played primarily by people with disabilities. In some countries such as Canada, Australia and England, able-bodied athletes are allowed to compete alongside other athletes on mixed teams. It is based in basketball with some adaptations to reflect the presence of the wheelchair, and to harmonize the different levels of disabilities players have. All teams which compete above a recreational level use a classification system to evaluate the functional abilities of players on a point scale of 1 to 4.5. In places where teams are integrated, able-bodied athletes would be classified as a 5, and an individual with the highest degree of disability (such as full paraplegia below the chest) would have the classification of 1.0. Classification is an international regulation for playing wheelchair basketball, where competitions restrict the number of points allowable on the court at one time. However, at this time, athletes are only allowed to compete internationally if they have a disability.
Wheelchair basketball retains most major rules and scoring of FIBA basketball, and maintains a 10-foot basketball hoop and standard basketball court. The exceptions are rules which have been modified with consideration for the wheelchair. For example, "travelling" in wheelchair basketball occurs when the athlete touches his wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball. The individual must pass, bounce or shoot the ball before he or she can touch their wheels again.
Wheelchair basketball has intense competition on the international level, and competitions include the Paralympic Games, an event held for athletes with physical disabilities in the Olympic host city two weeks after the Olympic Games, and the Gold Cup, a qualifying tournament held two years after every paralympics. Major players include Canada, Australia, USA, England, the Netherlands, and Japan.
1940's - USA - Wheelchair basketball
The first wheelchair basketball games between disabled World War II veterans took place in 1946 in the United States. Since then it has spread throughout the world, and now thousands of athletes play it.
1944 - Stoke Mandeville - Wheelchair Netball
In 1944, Ludwig Guttmann, through the rehabilitation program at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, adapted existing sports to use wheelchairs. The Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, in 1947, were the first games to be held and included only a handful of participants (26), and few events (shot put, javelin, club throw, and archery), but growth in both the number of events and participants came quickly. In 1952, a team from the Netherlands was invited to compete with the British team. This was the first International Stoke-Mandeville Games (ISMG), an event that has been held annually ever since.
1956 - Wheelchair Basketball at Stoke Mandeville
It seems that wheelchair basketball, as we know it now, was first played at the 1956 ISMG. The Pan Am Jets won the tournament once again.
1973 to 1993 - IWBF - International Wheelchair Basketball Federation
In 1973 the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) established the first Sub-section for wheelchair basketball. At that time ISMGF was the world governing body for all wheelchair sports. In 1989 ISMGF accepted the name International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) for its former sub-section. With this step wheelchair basketball began its journey for full independence and in 1993 IWBF was established as the world body for wheelchair basketball with full responsibility for development of the sport. Over the next five years IWBF membership grew in size and the federation configured itself into four geographical Zones.