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Functional Classification

The NWBA, beginning with the 2014-15 season, began using the Functional Classification system. The Functional Classification system uses classifications from 1.0 - 4.5. Each athlete will be classified by a team reviewer in one of eight classes (1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5). 

Class 1.0 - No active movement of the trunk in the vertical, forward or sideways plane

Class 1.5 - Has characteristics of a class 1.0, but able to move partially out into forward plane, able to rotate upper trunk, able to transition from catching to passing or shooter faster than class 1.0, more stable upon contact than class 1.0, and more at ease with ball within cylinder of movement.

Class 2.0 - Has active use of upper trunk in the vertical and forward planes, able to rotate the upper trunk while upright in both directions, able to hold the ball forward with both arms extended, able to lean the trunk into the forward plane about 45 degrees with control and return to the upright sitting position, able to actively bring upper trunk off the backrest of the chair, and uses hands to return to upright of trunk if no thighs-unless knees are significantly higher than the hips.

Class 2.5 - Has characteristics of class 1.0, but able to lean forward 90 degrees and return to upright sitting position without proper upper extremity assist with knees higher than hips, able to lean forward and rotate the upper trunk simultaneously, Able to lean forward and rotate the upper trunk simultaneously, active movement of both the Upper and Lower Trunk but not coordinated or as one unit, lower Trunk is not against the backrest at all times, may have a lordosis (Curve in low back) to assist in returning to upright, and more stable than a Class 2.0 player but still has loss of stability in trunk.

Class 3.0 - Displays active use of the upper and lower trunk in the forward and vertical planes: Can lean forward 90 degrees, placing chest on thighs and return to upright with ease without knees significantly higher than hips, can hold the ball with both hands outstretched in front of face without loss of stability, can rotate upper and lower trunk as a unit not supported by wheelchair backrest, rotation of the trunk occurs at the level of the pelvis not the waist, unable to maintain stability leaning sideways, and works within a ‘Cylinder’

Class 3.5 - Has characteristics of a class 3.0, but able to move partially out into the sideways plane and return to upright sitting, able to remain upright in hard contact situations forward, able to sit with hips higher than knees, often raises and lowers trunk with each push, able to generate some power in legs with pushing, able to retrieve a ball with two hands on the floor slightly to the side and return to upright position, can lean to the side but remains within his base of support, plays within a WIDER cylinder than a Class 3.0 player, does not have full volume of action to either side.

Class 4.0 - Displays the ability to move the trunk maximally in all planes of movement with weakness to one side, has one strong side and one weaker side, able to lean strongly to one side, usually able to lean to weak side slightly, can hold the ball with outstretched hands in front or overhead without loss of stability even in contact situations, no need to counterbalance even in contact situations unless contact is forceful and directed into the weaker side.

Class 4.5 - Displays the ability to move the trunk maximally in all planes of movement with no significant weakness in any direction, full volume of action in all planes, displays ability to lean to either side during shooting, passing, contesting a shot or trying to intercept a pass.

Intercollegiate Women's, Intercollegiate Men's & Women's Division

The NWBA Bylaws Section 4.2 Eligibility outline the details for classification for Intercollegiate Women's, Intercollegiate Men's & Women's Division:

2. Within the Intercollegiate Division of the NWBA, able-bodied athletes will be permitted to participate as 4.5 classification players. 

a. Intercollegiate Women’s Division 
b. Intercollegiate Men’s Division 

3. Within the Women’s Division of the NWBA, able-bodied athletes will be permitted to participate as 4.5 classification players.

All able-bodied athletes will be designated with a "4.5 - AB" classification on team rosters and scoresheets.

Military Division Classification

More information on the classification system used by the Military Division can be found by visiting


Jayne Chilutti

Classification Committee Chair