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Wheelchairs and the Sports Lover

  • Published: 2008-12-11 (Revised/Updated 2017-12-24) : Author: Robert Michael
  • Synopsis: Just because you are in a wheelchair does not mean you can not enjoy the competitiveness and just all around fun playing sports.

Quote: "The Special Olympics added Boccia ball to its itinerary years ago, and it is game that can be enjoyed by all wheelchair users."

Main Document

More and more wheelchair users are playing sports every day - some even on a professional level. There are several wheelchair sports associations and gaming opportunities for your wheelchair and you - all you have to do is educate yourself regarding playing the game safely and find out what options you have. The following information is just a few examples of what gaming opportunities you have.

Wheelchair basketball is a very common wheelchair sport.

It was started over forty years ago by the Veteran's Association as a rehabilitation program, and over the years has grown in leaps and bounds. Today wheelchair basketball is a professional sport that offers more than 180 teams across the United States. Different versions of wheelchair basketball have spawned off of wheelchair basketball, and are very fun to play. Some even have lower, netted basketball rims that return the ball back to the players without having to chase it down.

In order to play wheelchair basketball, it is essential to have a lightweight wheelchair. Several sports wheelchairs are on the market today just for sports enthusiasts. And if you are an amputee, several prosthetic devices have been created to enjoy the sport even more. The most common upper body prosthetic - the Super Sport, which is manufactured by TRS, Inc. - comes in different sizes and was specifically designed for playing various sports including ball sports.

The Special Olympics added Boccia ball to its itinerary years ago, and it is game that can be enjoyed by all wheelchair users. You can play it either indoors or outdoors, and set up is a breeze. You need a target ball and six balls for each player. All you have to do is try and get your ball closest to the target ball thrown at the beginning of the game. Points are awarded based on the proximity of balls to that of the target ball.

Another wheelchair sport, quad rugby, was specifically designed for quadriplegics unable to play wheelchair basketball.

It is a mixture of wheelchair basketball and ice hockey called sledge hockey. In 1988 quad rugby players officially started the United States Quad Rugby Association, and has over 40 teams on its membership roster. To play the game you must have two teams of four players each. Each player is classified based on impairment - .5 being the greatest impairment and 3.5 being the least impairment, and teams cannot not exceed an 8. The players then have four 8-minute quarters in which the offense must carry the ball to their goal (on the other team's side of the court). The defense is constantly trying to prevent the other team from scoring. The team who reaches the other person's goal line most frequently wins.

Power Soccer:

Power soccer is another fun wheelchair sport that can rev the sport enthusiast's engine. Players in power soccer must have an electric wheelchair. Two teams have two 30-minute halves to push the soccer ball over the other team's goal line. The team to reach the other person's goal most frequently wins.

Wheelchair Rugby:

Wheelchair Rugby is one of the more physical, fast-paced wheelchair sports that has the potential to become very intense. The rules differ quite a bit from the actual game of rugby, however the sport has been adapted quite well for disabled individuals.


Wheelchair tennis is also one of the most popular wheelchair sports for disabled individuals to participate in. Wheelchair tennis has the same rules and regulations as normal tennis except that the ball can bounce twice as opposed to just once. This makes it easier to get to the ball. This sport can be adapted to all individuals, regardless of their form of disability.

Other Sports and Activities:

There are a number of other sports that are available for individuals with disabilities. Some of the other less-popular (but just as fun) sports and activities include waterskiing, tubing, bowling, billiards and hang gliding.

So, just because you are in a wheelchair doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy sports activities. And based on the sport you choose to participate in, there are several wheelchair sports accessories available for you, including belts and harnesses, gloves, bags for carrying items, drink holders and specialty back supports.

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1 : Wheelchair Dance Sport Rules Update - IPC : International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
2 : Wheelchair Dancing: Information and Overview of Types of Dance : Disabled World.
3 : Wheelchair Basketball - Inclusion of Able-bodied Players on the Team has Advantages : University of Alberta - Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation.
4 : Wheelchair Basketball: Learning the Rules and Gameplay : Disabled World.
5 : Wheelchair Rugby: Rules & Information : Disabled World.
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