Wheelchair basketball isn’t just a high-impact, physically demanding sport designed for people with disabilities, it’s a great way to stay active and belong to a team. It comes with many challenges that you obviously wouldn’t normally encounter in traditional basketball and it’s every bit as mentally and physically challenging.
In order to play wheelchair basketball, the players are required to use a special type of wheelchair. There are many differences between a basketball wheelchair and a traditional wheelchair. The most noticeable difference is that these basketball wheelchairs have lightweight wheels that slant inwards, while the chair’s frame is much lighter with a lower back. These wheelchairs are specially made in order to allow for improved maneuverability and improved speed on the court.
These chairs were first developed in the 1980s, and are incredibly light and durable. They’re also designed to turn on the spot. These chairs are now more advanced than ever and come with a set of three or four wheels in addition to other components such as push handles, foam grips, brakes, castor wheels, seat belts, and impact guards. As an extra safety precaution, some models will come equipped with a fifth wheel located on the back that’s designed to prevent the chair from flipping over backward.
These chairs aren’t exactly affordable. A standard basketball wheelchair can cost anywhere from one thousand up to four thousand dollars. Chairs that are highly specialized can cost as much as six thousand dollars. While it’s possible to find this type of wheelchair for under a thousand dollars, these chairs usually don’t last very long and tend to prevent the player from moving easily and quickly on the court.
So, why are basketball wheelchairs so expensive? The cost reflects many customizations that are needed during the design process since a chair must be custom-made for the player. Additionally, because these chairs must be made out of lighter materials such as titanium, the price also skyrockets.
Are These Chairs Worth the Higher Price Tag?
Traditional basketball is probably one of the cheapest sports you can take up considering all it requires are the right shoes and a basketball. But wheelchair basketball is a whole other matter. However, for the serious basketball player interested in joining a team and getting back on the court, despite their disability, the cost of these chairs is worth every penny.