Wheelchair basketball was originally developed by World War II veterans in the USA in 1945. At the same time, Sir Ludwig Guttmann developed a similar sport, wheelchair netball, at the Spinal Rehabilitation Hospital in Stoke Mandeville.
Since then, the sport has grown worldwide and was introduced on the global stage at the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games, and today it is practiced in nearly 100 countries. It is designed for athletes who have a physical impairment that prevents running, jumping and pivoting.
Wheelchair basketball retains most major rules and scoring of basketball, and maintains a 10-foot basketball hoop and standard basketball court. The exceptions are rules which have been modified with consideration for the wheelchair and to harmonize the different levels of disabilities players have.
All teams which compete above a recreational level use a classification system to evaluate the functional abilities of players on a point scale of 1 to 4.5. Minimally disabled athletes are classified as a 4.5, and an individual with the highest degree of disability (such as a paraplegic with a complete injury below the chest) would have the classification of 1.0. In places where teams are integrated, non disabled athletes compete as either a 4.5 in Canada or a 5.0 in Europe. Non-disabled athletes are not allowed to compete internationally.
Classification is an international regulation for playing wheelchair basketball, where competitions restrict the number of points allowable on the court at one time. The five players from each team on the court during play may not exceed a total of 14 points.