Wheelchair basketball is often the hottest ticket at the Paralympic Games. It is similar to its able-bodied counterpart with some subtle differences, but the basket height remains the same as do the boundaries for three-point shooting. It is designed for athletes who have a physical impairment that prevents running, jumping, and pivoting. There are separate tournaments for men and women at the Paralympic Games.

Wheelchair basketball games have four 10-minute periods with a 15-minute pause at the half. If the game is tied at the end of the fourth period, an extra five-minute period is added. Games can have as many periods as necessary to break the tie.

As in able-bodied basketball, players must dribble the ball when having gained control on the court. It is a traveling violation to take more than two pushes on the wheels without dribbling the ball. A player is not allowed to touch the playing surface with his or her feet while in possession of the ball.

Canada is an international powerhouse in the sport. The women’s team took gold at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics and bronze in 2004. The men have reached the podium at the last four Games including gold in 2000, 2004 and 2012 along with silver in 2008.

The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation is the world governing body for wheelchair basketball. Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the National Sport Federation.


In general, any individual unable to participate in stand-up basketball as a result of a disabling condition or injury is eligible to play wheelchair basketball. Disabilities include: amputee, spinal cord, cerebral palsy, and others (multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, polio, and spina bifida). Classification is based upon sport-specific tests, rather than a medical diagnosis or muscle function examination. Each player is assigned a classification number that is based on shooting, passing, rebounding, pushing, and dribbling ability. In Canada, classifications are based on the international classification system and range from 0.5 to 4.5. In most divisions, the combined number of player points of the five players on court must not exceed 14 at any time.

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Wheelchair Basketball Canada

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