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Monday, May 13, 2013

Wheelchair Basketball

My Experiences
I have played wheelchair basketball many times and have absolutely loved it! Shooting the basketball is very different when sitting down, but it is so fun! My friend, Kelly, and I put together a wheelchair basketball tournament. Everyone seemed to love it! 

The rules are very similar to basketball such as the height of the hoop (10 feet). A few rules are modified such as players must dribble, pass, or shoot after pushing/touching the wheels of the wheelchair twice. Double-dribble does not exist in wheelchair basketball. Players cannot run their chairs into other players' chairs - that is a foul. Defenders are not allowed to stay in the paint longer than five seconds.

The participants can vary. Wheelchair basketball was designed for people who have a spinal injury, amputated leg, etc., but over time, more people have started playing. People without a disability can participate now as well. When all of the players on the teams have a disability, it is called an adaptive sport. When some of the players have a disability and some do not, it is called reverse integration.

Where to find Wheelchair Basketball

Many city recreation centers now have wheelchairs for different wheelchair sports for example the new Provo Recreation Center. The wheelchairs are different for basketball so please do not try using regular wheelchairs. The wheelchairs for basketball have angled wheels so that fingers and arms are less likely to get hurt. Just call around and see if you can find any.

Collegiate, Professional, and Olympic Levels

Many Colleges have a intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball team such as University of Texas at Austin. Also Title IX was just reinterpreted so that college intramural programs must include adaptive sports. Check out the link below for the letter from the government to the universities. Many NBA teams have a wheelchair basketball team affiliate such as the Jazz. The Paralympic Games host wheelchair basketball teams from across the world. The video at the top of this blog shows a few highlights from Beijing.

Events tend to go over best when they have a theme. For wheelchair basketball, a few different themes can be used. For our tournament, we chose to use March Madness as our theme. We had the tournament the Saturday before Selection Sunday for the NCAA tournament and called it Selection Saturday. The title of our event was Wheelin' March Madness. We gave out trophies to the top two teams. Other themes could be disability awareness day - usually around April 3rd. Another idea would be around the time of the Paralympics (starting the week after the Olympics). 

Uses as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
This activity could be used as a treatment to help improve functionality for someone who had a lower body amputation or received a spinal cord injury. This could also be used for leisure education to teach someone how to play so they can play in the future with friends whether they have a disability or not. 

Please comment below on how you would use these activities with your population, thoughts on how it has worked for you, advice for others on how to implement it, what you would process and so on! We'd love to hear about it! 

Here are a few links to ideas on how to lead activities better:

Photo Credit: 
Wheelin' Jazz Logo:

Road Warriors Logo:

The Video: 

All of the other pictures: Taken at Wheelin' March Madness March 15, 2013 by Kathryn Williams

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