National Wheelchair Basketball Association

Fort Lauderdale Sharks is a proud member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association since 2010.

World War II veterans gave birth to wheelchair basketball in 1946.  They played in Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals in Birmingham (CA) and Framingham (MA), as well as at the Corona Naval Station (CA) where World War II veterans were being treated for various degrees of paralysis. The Birmingham Report published an article on November 26, 1946, titled “Plegics Win Wheelchair Game, 16 to 6”. The veterans competed against doctors who practiced at the Birmingham Hospital.  In 1947 the Birmingham team traveled to the Corona Naval Station where they competed in the first match between two wheelchair basketball teams.

Within two years, six teams emerged representing VA hospitals across the US.  National tournament were organized and hosted by the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).

In 1948, the NWBA and the first official National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament (NWBT) were organized by the NWBA pioneer and Hall-of-Fame inductee Tim Nugent of the University of Illinois.  That same year, in a remarkable act of self-determination, the Birmingham VA Flying Wheels took to the air and challenged VA hospital teams throughout the US.  Wheelchair basketball soon became the number one sport of individuals with disabilities.  VA teams and players joined the NWBA shortly after 1948.

National Wheelchair Association