Wheelchair softball was
born 30 years ago in the Midwest by a few individuals with spinal
cord injuries and lower extremity impairments, who still wanted to enjoy
America's greatest pastime. These individuals needed to develop a way of
playing without the full use of their legs that would allow easy
maneuverability in a wheelchair and keep the fast pace of softball. Thus
was born a new game played on hard surfaces, such as a parking lot,
instead of the normal grassy infield, and a 16-inch softball, which
allows wheelchair players to keep one hand one the wheelchair while
catching a softball without a glove.
In 1976, the
National Wheelchair Softball Association (NWSA) was founded and serves
as the governing body for wheelchair softball in the United States. The
game is played under the official rules of the 16-inch slow pitch
softball as approved by the Amateur Softball Association of America with
some exceptions geared toward the
wheelchair user. Teams throughout America compete on a regular basis and
hosts several tournaments throughout the
summer. The NWSA hosts a national wheelchair softball tournament
annually, which celebrated its 27th anniversary in St. Paul, Minnesota,
this past August.
governs over 30 teams nationwide. Many teams have sought and found
allegiance and sponsorship with their Major League Baseball (MLB) team
counterparts, such as the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Colorado
Rockies, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies. All wear
official MLB uniforms and compete with
pride under their respective professional team's logo.
Wheelchair softball is
an exciting and challenging summer sport that enables most wheelchair
users to compete. To learn more about the NWSA, browse the website.