The Playing Rules of Wheelchair Basketball

Wheelchair basketball in Canada is played in accordance with the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) rules which have been modified from Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA). There are some adaptations for play in the various divisions of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) to encourage development. Some teams in Canada play in a league governed by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) which is the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association (CWBA) counterpart in the United States. The rules used in that game are modified from those used in National Colleges Athletics Association (NCAA) league play.

The wheelchair is considered a piece of equipment in the game and has the following restrictions:


  • Only one cushion is permitted on the seat of the chair and may not exceed 10cm in thickness for class 1.0 - 3.0 players and no more than 5cm for 3.5 - 4.5 players;
  • Foot rests may not be higher than 11cm;
  • There must be floor protection material on the underneath of the front of the wheelchair;
  • Seat height may not exceed 53cm;
  • The chair may have 3 or 4 wheels with the large wheels not to exceed 67cm;
  • There must be a handrim on each wheel;
  • Steering devices, brakes, or gears are not allowed on the chair;
  • Black air tires are not permitted;
  • Arm rests and other supports are not allowed to project beyond the line of the players legs or trunk in a natural sitting position.
  • The horizontal bar at the back of the wheelchair (backrest) must be padded to prevent injury.

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.

An offensive player may not remain in the key area for more than three seconds.

A player may wheel the chair and bounce the ball simultaneously, however, if the ball is picked up and\or placed on the players lap, he\she is only allowed to push twice before they are obligated to 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.

In addition to the technical fouls that may be assessed from time to time as in stand up basketball, a player lifting his\her legs to gain an advantage or lifting out of there chair is given a technical foul. The player must remain firmly seated in their chair and must not use their lower limbs to steer the chair or gain an unfair advantage.

In the event that a player falls out of their chair a referee may stop the play if in their opinion the player is at risk of being injured, otherwise play will continue.

On an in bounds play, the offensive player is not allowed to go into the key until the ball is handed to the in bounding player by the referee.

The height of the basket, distance to the foul line, three point line, etc., are the same measurements as in the game of stand up basketball.


Written by the CWBA.