Not surprisingly, wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Paralympics. It is a fast-paced team game that attracts competitive athletes with physical disabilities that prevent them from running, jumping, and pivoting. Not all athletes who play wheelchair basketball require the use of a wheelchair for daily life.

Open to male and females, Wheelchair basketball is a game played by two teams of 5 players on the court (and 7 substitutes) where the goal is to shoot the ball through the opposing teams basket. At the same time, teams actively try to prevent the opposing team from making points or baskets.

The match consists of four periods of ten minutes with a 15-minute interval between the second and third period and one-minute intervals between the first and second, and third and fourth periods. If the score is tied at the end of playing time in the fourth period, the match will be continued with an extra period of five minutes or with as many such periods of five minutes as are necessary to break the tie.

Scoring points varies between 1 to 3 points depending where you are on the court at the time. Baskets are credited to the team attacking the basket into which the ball has entered as follows:

  • A basket from a free throw counts as one (1) point.
  • A basket from the two-point field goal area (anywhere inside the 3 point line) counts two (2) points.
  • A basket from the three-point field goal area (outside the 3 point line) counts three (3) points.

Every team has 24 seconds to complete its attempt to score a basket. If the team with the ball exceeds this time limit, then the ball and the right of play is granted to the opposing team.

Basketball wheelchairs are quick, agile and allow for speed, quick turning ability and maneuvering. Therefore, there are specific chairs used for basketball.

Like able-bodied basketball, players must dribble the ball when having gained control of the ball on the court. It is a traveling violation to take more than two pushes on the wheels without a dribble of the ball.

Who can play?


A wide range of people with disabilities play wheelchair basketball. Some are born with their disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, etc. while others acquire their disabilities through things such as spinal cord injuries (SCI), amputations, injuries, etc. 

It is recommended that athletes are able to propel a manual wheelchair, as wheelchair basketball does require a lot of upper body strength.

Based on each athlete’s level of function, they will be given a classification ranging from 1.0 to 4.5.

Athletes with disabilities, including those with minimal disabilities, are able to participate in events from the grassroot level all the way up to the international level.



 Athletes do not need to have a disability to participate in wheelchair basketball. These athletes are sometimes referred to as Able-Bodied, or ABs.

Wheelchair basketball in Canada is fully inclusive, allowing anyone and everyone to participate in the sport. ABs are even allowed to represent their provinces at the National Level.

The classification system allows all ability levels to participate and contribute to the team.

Athletes without a disability are automatically allocated the highest classification level, 4.5.

The only events that athletes without disabilities are unable to participate in are international events.



When classifying an athlete, the classifier takes into consideration the athlete’s functional ability to perform skills specific to the sport of wheelchair basketball; wheeling, dribbling, passing, reaction to contact, shooting, rebounding.

Classifications are based on the international classification system and range from 1.0 to 4.5. Lower class athletes are more limited in their functional skills. Athletes assigned higher classes have few if any limitations.

In domestic divisions, the total number of points on the court assigned for each of the five players may not exceed 15 points at any one time. In international divisions, the maximum number of points is 14.

Class 1 :

Athletes are generally unable to move their trunk in any of the planes of movement. For example, most are unable to rotate their upper body to receive an over the shoulders pass in a fast break.

Class 2 :

Athletes are generally able to rotate their upper body without using their arms for support. This greatly improves their ability to scan the court, as well as receive or shoot the ball from different directions.

Class 3 :

Athletes are generally able to rotate their upper body without using their arms for support. This greatly improves their ability to scan the court, as well as receive or shoot the ball from different directions.

Class 4 :

Athletes are able to move their trunk in all planes of movement. They can rotate, learn forward and to at least one side without difficulty. Athletes in this category can lean to the side to contest a shot or protect the ball from an opponent or catch a rebound. Class 4.0 athletes differ from class 4.5 athletes in that they often are not able to lean equally to both sides due to limited power in one leg.

Occasionally, an athlete displays characteristics of two classes. In these instances a .5 class may be assigned.

Watch this video for a more in depth look at classification.

Programs in Saskatchewan

Athletes with and without disabilities are able to participate in all our programs.


  • For children 6 to 15 years of age.
  • An opportunity to learn about wheelchair basketball in a fun environment and develop the necessary fundamental skills before moving on to older club teams.


  • Under 24 (age cut off depends on Canada Winter Games Cycle)
  • Train within their club programs and then come together for Junior specific events
  • More information under Canada Winter Games Cycle.


  • Saskatchewan participates in the CWBL Prairie divsion that has two different tiers for varying ability levels, as well as a women’s division
  • Other teams comes from BC, Edmonton, Calgary, and Manitoba.


  • Top tier for athletes to participate in
  • Have 3-4 tournaments a year, with each club responsible for hosting a tournament
  • The CWBL A club team then travels to CWBL Nationals to take on the best teams in the country.


  • Developmental tier for athletes to participate in
  • Have 3-4 tournaments a year, with each club responsible for hosting a tournament
  • Some tournaments may be typical style tournaments (each club sends a team), while others may be more of a jamboree style tournament in order to encourage better development and shift the focus from winning to having fun and getting better.


  • All ages and all abilities
  • Women train within their own club teams
  • All female athletes come together for tournaments to play as Saskatchewan
  • Host one tournament a year and travel to 1-3 other tournaments
  • One team sent to the CWBL Women’s National Championships each year

Clubs and Contacts

Club ’99  (ADULTS) – Saskatoon

Brady Arthurs

NRG Mini – Saskatoon

Joelle Buckle

Regina Paratroopers


Nicky Cunningham

High Performance Coach


Jared Sajtos

Swift current rolling thunder

Nicole Nutter

Find Us

Office: (306) 975-0824


510 Cynthia Street

Saskatoon, SK

S7L 7K7

Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association

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SK Wheelchair Sports Association




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