History of Wheelchair Basketball


Wheelchair basketball was first played at two USA World War II veterans’ administration hospitals; Corona Naval Station, California, and Framingham, Massachusetts, in 1945.

Independently, in 1948 British war veterans started playing wheelchair netball under Dr Ludwig Guttmann (GER) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The first national wheelchair basketball tournament was held in Illinois, USA, with six teams in 1949. In the same year the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) was formed in USA.

The Pan Am Jets of USA brought wheelchair basketball to Europe when they were invited to play at the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1955, initially having to settle for wheelchair netball. After dominating the competition, their performance initiated the switch from wheelchair netball to wheelchair basketball for future Games.

Wheelchair basketball was one of the sports at the inaugural Rome 1960 Paralympic Games.