Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair basketball is currently hailed as the fastest growing sport for athletes with a disability.

Wheelchair basketball

Wheelchair basketball was one of the foundation sports at the first Paralympic Games in Rome, 1960.

The sport is currently hailed as the fastest growing sport for athletes with a disability. The game was initiated in the late 1940’s when basketball players returned from World War II to the U.S.A unable to play able-bodied basketball adapted the rules to enable it to be played in wheelchairs. In 1955, the first international competition of Wheelchair Basketball was played at Stoke Mandeville.

The game quickly grew throughout Europe, Asia and Australia thus encouraging the establishment of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation in 1993, a fully independent world governing body. It is now played in over 80 countries with over 100,00 players at all levels over the globe.


Basketball NSW enters teams to represent NSW to compete in the Kevin Coombs Cup which is the national event held annually in conjunction with the Australian Under 18 Junior Championships.

These championships present the only opportunity for junior wheelchair basketballers to represent their state in a National Championship. The age groups for the Kevin Coombs Cup are based on international junior wheelchair basketball age groups; Under-23 for Males and Under-25 for Females.

Basketball Australia has two national teams, Gliders (women’s national team) Rollers (men’s national team).

Click here for Kevin Coombs Cup information

Who Can Play Wheelchair Basketball?

Impairment Type

To be eligible to play wheelchair basketball, a person must in their lower limbs have an objective and measurable permanent physical disability, which prevents them from running, jumping and pivoting as an able-bodied player.


The classification of wheelchair basketball players has evolved significantly over the past 15 years. Wheelchair basketball classification is based on the players’ functional capacity to complete the skills necessary to play – pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching.

It is not an assessment of a player’s level of skill, merely their functional capacity to complete the task. Players are assigned points as their classification – 1, 2, 3, and 4 are the recognized classes, with 0.5 classes between for the exceptional cases which do not fit exactly into one class, and the 4.5 category for the player with least or minimal disability.

Classes are defined according to players’ “volume of action”. Each class has a clearly defined maximal volume of action, which the player may exhibit. Players are observed in their competition wheelchairs, complete with all strapping they will use, but in a training situation before the tournament commences. From this initial observation, a player is assigned a class with which they will begin the tournament. The player is then observed in an actual competition game, at which time their classification will be confirmed or modified if the classification panel feels it is necessary.

The total number of points allowed on court at any time is 14.0. That is, the total points of all five players actually playing. If a coach allows the team to have over 14.0 points, they will incur a coach technical foul.

Official Wheelchair Basketball Rules
Find out all you need to know about the Paralympic sport of wheelchair basketball, including the history, rules, classification and equipment.

Paralympic Sports A-Z: Wheelchair basketball

Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT

If you would like to learn more about wheelchair basketball in NSW and to see where you can participate, head to Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT.

Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT