Everyone Can Play!

Score when ball pushed through goal posts that are 25 feet apart on the end line — No portion of the chair can cross the goal line

Minor fouls (holding, charging, clipping) lead to turnover and defensive must back off 10 feet from ball

Major fouls (ramming, poor sportsmanship) lead to a penalty kick

A player with three major fouls is ejected from the game

Turnovers include 100 percent of the ball being out-of-bounds, going out-of-bounds to pass an opposing player, going over the goal line

In all three sports, rules can be modified in a recreation environment to meet the needs and desires of players. For example, participants are to stay seated in their wheelchairs for sitting volleyball. A beach ball instead of a regulation volleyball can be used (see photo).

In power soccer, participants can be allowed to use their hands and various sizes of balls can be used (see photo). See the resources section for additional information about wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and power soccer.


There is no “cookbook” that tells service providers how to adapt sport and physical activities for individuals with physical disabilities but here are general suggestions for other sports:


Use a ramp

Remain in stationary position

Use two hands instead of one


Use shorter, lighter club with larger head

Use larger balls

Use tee for all shots

Shorten distance to hole


Use Velcro balls and mitts

Use larger and smaller bats

Use a batting tee, push off ramp, or lap

Reduce distances to bases


Use larger, lighter balls

Use larger head racquets

Do not use a net

Get closer to net on serve

Remember that everyone with physical disabilities loves to play. The benefits are the same as for any person, and you should never hesitate to modify a sport or game in whatever way possible to accommodate all participants.

For more information regarding wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball:

Davis, R. W. (2002), Inclusion Through Sports

Human Kinetics National Wheelchair Basketball Association: www.nwba.org

World Organization of Volleyball for the Disabled: www.wovd.com

For more information regarding power soccer:

Malone, L. A., Collins, J. M., Thompson, M., & Barfield, J. P. (2004), The Power of Soccer

The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability: www.ncpad.org/videos/

For more information regarding general adaptations for sport and physical activities, and equipment:

PE Central -– www.pecentral.org

Rebecca Woodard, Ph.D., is the Physical Education Undergraduate Coordinator for the Department of Health, Physical Education, & Recreation at Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo. If you have any questions, Rebecca can be reached at rebeccawoodard@missouristate.edu.

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