Wheelchair basketball is one of the most important paralympic sports branches in the world. It has an increasing popularity globally and has attracted many supporters.

Image Credit: Fanatik Newspaper

”The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the governing body for wheelchair basketball around the world.

IWBF is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide opportunities for persons with a lower limb disability to play the game of wheelchair basketball. IWBF has the following mandate [8]:

  • Establish the Official Wheelchair Basketball Rules; the Official Wheelchair Basketball Player Classification Handbook, the specifications for equipment and facilities; the Internal Regulations that govern the conduct of the Federation and ensure that they are enforced on all occasions.
  • Establish the standards for the training and certification of referees, classifiers, commissioners and examiners; control and govern the licensing of international referees, classifiers and commissioners and maximize the use of experienced players in the training and certification of each of the above categories of officials.
  • Control and maintain the classification of players and issuance of Player Identity Cards and Player Classification Cards.
  • Regulate the transfer of players from one country to another.
  • Raise funds, collect fees and accept contributions and subsidies and ensure that all resources are used solely to further the aims and objectives of IWBF and in accordance with the principle that IWBF is a non-profit organization.
  • Implement an organized marketing programme that involves communication, public relations and demonstration events to instil awareness to the general public of the benefits of wheelchair basketball.

There are 105 National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWBs) worldwide and these are broken down into four zones: Asia OceaniaAfricaEurope and Americas.”

This is the description of IWBF and its mission for the players who are disabled.

US soldiers who were injured but still had passion to play found the game of wheelchair basketball and in 1960, the game was played in the Rome Paralympic Games for the first time.

Image Credit: afyonanahaber.com.tr

In Turkey, the organizations are made by Turkish Physically Handicapped Sports Federation. There are 3 leagues organized by the federation: Super League, First League and Second League. Turkey Wheelchair Basketball National Team is involved among the first 8 teams of Europe and the country has the biggest league in Europe.

Wheelchair basketball and stand up basketball are almost the same for the game rules. Here are the differences [1]:

  • The wheelchair is considered part of the player’s body in relation to establishing responsibility for contact on court in the case of charging, blocking, going out of bounds, and other violations. Charging and blocking depends on where your chair is in relation to your opponent’s chair and the speed at which you are both traveling. This rule is the hardest to get used to and takes time before players to adjust to.
  • A player can push their wheelchair and bounce the ball simultaneously, however, if the ball is picked up and/or placed on the players lap, the player is only allowed to push twice before they are must shoot, pass, or dribble the ball again.
  • There is no double dribble rule in wheelchair basketball. A traveling violation occurs if the player takes more than two pushes while in possession of the ball and not dribbling. The distance a player coasts between pushes in not restricted.
  • In addition to the technical fouls that may be assessed from time to time in stand-up basketball, player advantage fouls will be called if an athlete uses their legs to raise themselves in their seats, steer their chairs or balance themselves in any way to gain advantage.

Basketball and other sports for disabled players are very effective on their self-respect, self-confidence, socialization, body awareness, motor development and the sense of achievement in a positive way. It also gives players hope and courage to live by improving their health with systematic trainings, decreasing calcium accumulation in the soft tissue, the frequency of osteoporosis and airway infections in players by utilizing wheelchair. Players improve their abilities and adjust themselves to the conditions in home or outside. The game shows them that even they are disabled physically, it can’t stop them and they are always a part of the society. It is important for especially young disabled people who show a tendency to social isolation more than adults.

Players of wheelchair basketball and players of stand-up basketball have the same motivation. But encouragement is really important at this point to start playing basketball. Players and their families must be informed to decrease the effects of fear, concern and anxiety and must be shown all sides of the game. Then we can witness to big successes nationally and internationally.

For example; last year, Wheelchair Basketball Team of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality completed European League-3 finals in the third place. Turkey Wheelchair Basketball National Team guaranteed 2020 Tokio Paralympic Games by beating Italy in the quarterfinals of 2019 Wheelchair Basketball Europe Championship.

It is not physical disability to stop people, but barriers which they set to themselves!

REFERENCES

  1. Basic rules of the game, BC Wheelchair Basketball Society, http://www.bcwbs.ca/about-us/sport
  2. ERDEMİR, İ., TEKİN, H.İ., SAVUCU, Y., TÜFEKÇİOĞLU, E., 2009, Birinci ve ikinci lig tekerlekli sandalye basketbolcularında performansı etkileyen faktörler, Fırat Üniversitesi Sağlık Bilimleri Tıp Dergisi, 23(2), 85-89
  3. ERGUN, N., DÜZGÜN, İ., ASLAN, E., 2008, Tekerlekli sandalye basketbol oyunlarında deneyim yılının fiziksel uygunluk, spor becerisi ve yaşam kalitesi üzerine etkisi ,Fizyoterapi Rehabilitasyon , 19 (2) , 55-63
  4. MERİÇ, S., TURAY, Ö., 2020, Tekerlekli sandalye basketbolcularının spora katılım motivasyonu ile yaşam kalitesi arasındaki ilişki, Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 0 (48) , 433-450
  5. Our wheelchair basketball team took the third place in Europe, 2019, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, https://www.izmir.bel.tr/en/News/our-wheelchair-basketball-team-took-the-third-place-in-europe/40607/162
  6. Tekerlekli sandalye basketbol takımında büyük başarı, 2019, EnSon Haber, https://www.ensonhaber.com/kralspor/basketbol/tekerlekli-sandalye-basketbol-takimindan-buyuk-basari-2019-09-07
  7. Ts basketbol, Türkiye Bedensel Engelliler Spor Federasyonu, http://www.tbesf.org.tr/branslar/ts-basketbol/?catid=2&id=155
  8. Who we are, International Wheelchair Basketball Federation, https://iwbf.org/about-us/who-we-are/