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Frank M. Brasile

An investigation was undertaken to assess the relationship between the disability classification levels of wheelchair basketball players, as used by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA), and the skill proficiency levels of the athlete. The assessment tool consisted of seven components deemed necessary for proficiency in basketball; these items were the 20-m sprint, free-throw shooting, obstacle dribble, baskets per minute, rebounding, speed pass, and pass for accuracy. The data used for statistical analysis were based upon the results acquired from 91 subjects who were tested in 1983. These subjects represented 18 NWBA teams from 14 states and Canada. The results of the investigation indicate support for placing less of an emphasis on the disability levels of wheelchair basketball participants, and for the development of functional assessment tools to be used in judging performances of “handicapped” athletes.

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Frank M. Brasile

For decades, the integration of handicapped children and adults into the mainstream of society has been promoted as a valuable and necessary concept. With the advent of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Public Law 94-142, the trend of mainstreaming individuals with handicaps into the “normal” world has led to the termination of many special schools and special recreation programs. This manuscript explores the potential of a new technique for integrating the disabled and the nondisabled. It is hypothesized that such integration will lead to a deeper commitment to, as well as a keener insight into, the plight of the disabled individual in regard to the attitudinal and architectural barriers that are still so prevalent in our society today. It is time to truly place more of a focus upon the ability of the participant, not the disability.

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Frank M. Brasile

It is understood that when an individual takes a stand on an issue that may be controversial, this position is open to criticism. Some may find it necessary to vehemently reject this individual’s philosophy. As such, Thiboutot, Labanowich, and Smith (1992) have been extended the opportunity to express their opinions relative to an article titled “Wheelchair Sports: A New Perspective on Integration” (Brasile, 1990a). The editors of the Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly should be commended for extending the opportunity for these individuals to respond to this issue. They should also be commended for extending the courtesy to write a rejoinder to the diatribe. What follows, therefore, is a rejoinder that will focus on the major issues that Thiboutot et al. have so eloquently raised: the rehabilitative aspects of sport, sport and skill, freedom of choice, and the inclusion of individuals without permanent physical disabilities into the sport of wheelchair basketball.

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Frank M. Brasile

The data used for statistical analysis in this investigation were based on results from 79 males tested at the National Wheelchair Basketball Association/Paralyzed Veterans of America wheelchair basketball camp held at Wright State University in August 1989. Results acquired from a multivariate analysis of variance indicated significant differences in scores across NWBA player classification levels. Post hoc comparisons indicated that Class II and Class III participants were similar and that Class I participants recorded lower overall skills proficiency scores. A stepwise forward regression analysis was conducted to determine the influence of predictor variables on skill proficiency levels. Results indicate that one’s level of disability may influence performance; however, amount of time spent in practice, previous experience in the sport, and age also influence one’s overall performance in wheelchair basketball.