Eligible impairment types:
- Impaired muscle power
- Impaired passive range of movement
- Limb deficiency
The sport was originally designed for athletes with tetraplegia. Today, the team sport also includes players with other impairments that cause limited arm and leg function.
Athletes with an eligible impairment are allocated a sport class based on their abilities in performing the wheelchair rugby skills of ball handling, such as passing, catching, carrying, and dribbling the ball; and wheelchair skills including pushing, starting, stopping, directional changes, tackling and blocking. Therefore, one sport class includes athletes with different eligible impairments, but the impairments lead to a similar activity limitation in wheelchair rugby.
There are seven different sport classes: 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5. The most significant activity limitation is described in the 0.5 sport class profile.
Below you will find a short description of four out of seven sport class profiles.
Sport class 0.5
Players in sport class 0.5 have significantly limited function in their shoulder, arms and hands, for example due to tetraplegia. The player would typically catch the ball by tapping it into their lap and throw the ball with a scoop pass. Their main role on the court is as a blocker.
Sport class 1.5
A player in sport class 1.5 has fair arm function, which makes him or her an excellent blocker. A 1.5 player will also handle the ball on occasion, but typically they show some instability in the wrist, which leads to limited ball security. Some athletes also have asymmetrical arm function, so that they mainly handle the ball with their strong arm only.
Sport class 2.5
Players in this sport class have good shoulder stability and arm function. They might have some trunk control. Due to their ability to flex their fingers, they can perform overhead passes, catch the ball with two hands and manoeuvre the wheelchair effectively. In the team they are ball handlers and fairly fast playmakers.
Sport class 3.5
A 3.5 player has good arm and hand function, which makes him or her a major ball handler in the team. They have some trunk function, which helps them to rapidly accelerate the wheelchair. They will typically have a high and upright sitting position. Also, an athlete with above knee amputations of both legs and with a loss of fingers and hand surface on both sides may play in this sport class. You will see 3.5 players perform controlled one-handed, long-distance passes.
Sport technical rules
Players with different sport classes play together in a team of four. The total number of points in a team on court for four players may not exceed eight points. This way the impact of the impairment on the game is balanced between the two teams.