Classification

THE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM – A BRIEF EXPLANATION

The classification system for Wheelchair Basketball is a method by which each individual has an equal opportunity to compete. There are no reasonable arguments to exclude any individual from competition because of the nature, cause or degree (severity) of disability.

The rules state that: Art. 59 Player Classification Point System, "Player classifications ... shall have point values as follows: 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5,5. In international competition, at no time in a game shall a team have players participating whose total point value exceeds 14 points. In the UK domestic league and cup competitions, a team may add 1.5 to the team classification total for each women player on court, when competing in mixed competition. Similarly, a team may add 1.0 points to the team classification total for each male junior player on court. A Junior player is one who is under 19 years of age at midnight on 31st December in the current season).

The skills (talents) and the level of training of a player are not the subject of the classification system. It should only measure functional limitations caused by the physical disability which affects the players capability for performing the different skills. The level of trunk function directly affects the performance capability in regard to the different skills involved. Therefore the level of sitting balance and trunk movement of the athletes become the fundamental elements in the definition of the classes. The definition of the classes necessitates a description of the borderline between cases.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLASS I AND II ATHLETES
The following is typical of Class I athletes:

  • they use a high back on their chair;
  • they lose their balance when lifting both arms over their head at the same time;
  • they use both arms when lifting their trunk from their thighs;
  • they have an inability to turn the head far enough when trying to look behind them;
  • they have an inability to sit without support during a high ball situation.

In contrast the Class II athlete can:

  • use a lower backed chair;
  • use only one arm when supporting the movements of the trunk;
  • possess fair balance when lifting both hands over the head or when in a high ball situation;
  • show deliberate dorsal flexion of the trunk.

Athletes with arm impairments are Class I, if they show significant functional limitations when pushing and steering the wheelchair in any direction, or catching a normal pass by preferring to use one hand only.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CLASS II AND III ATHLETES
Class II athletes cannot raise their trunk from their lap without the support of one arm. They are not able to start pushing the chair with only one hand and bouncing the ball simultaneously or wheeling and bouncing the ball at high speed. They easily lose their balance in rebound situations.
Class III athletes show deliberate trunk movements in the sagittal plane at least. They can pick up the ball with both hands from in front of their footplates, dribble with one hand without restriction and steer by crossing the free arm to grasp the opposite wheel.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CLASS III AND IV ATHLETES
Class III athletes have functional limitations in trunk movement in the frontal plane. They use one hand to hold the handrim when leaning to the opposite side.
Class IV athletes use their legs, moving their feet and thighs to one side. They use both arms in rebound situations even if they are leaning out to the side.

PRIMARY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CLASS IV AND NON-DISABLED PEOPLE
Class IV athletes have no fair chance to compete with non-disabled people because they are unable to run fast or jump with both legs.

CLASSIFICATION PROCEDURE
The classification procedure starts with observation during the game. The observers try to identify the appropriate classes of the players according to an observation manual. The quality of performance is not the subject of the observation. Subsequently, players are informed of the observation results and, for dubious and borderline cases, further functional and medical tests may be required.

NEW CLUBS
New clubs entering the National League will be put in the lowest division, at present the Third Division, and will not be required to play to a point system for the first year. After the fulfilment of one year those clubs will play to the classification system as is appropriate for their division. Super League and First Divisions play to 14 points, Second and Third Divisions play to 15 points and the Fourth Division and Women's League play to 16 points.

The Fourth Division is played over a shorter season and is run more as a development league, providing new clubs their first opportunity to play competitive basketball. New clubs are encouraged to enter the Third Division if they wish to play a balanced programme of league fixtures.

 

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