BlazeSports America, with the assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Local Organizing Committee of the 2012 Richmond National Veterans Wheelchair Games, offered the Paralympic sport of Boccia as a demonstration sport for the first time at a National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG). More than 70 veterans participated in 60 matches during the four hour boccia clinic.
Games were divided into the eight VA classifications: IA, IB, IC, II, III, IV and V, as well as three divisions: Novice (first time participants), Open and Masters (athletes over the age of 50).
Although Boccia is a sport primarily played by athletes with cerebral palsy, athletes with other disabilities are eligible to play at the International and Paralympic level, making it a perfect sport for veterans with eligible disabilities. A brief description of the four functional boccia classes and eligible disabilities includes:
Individual BC1 is played by Players classified within the CPISRA Classification system as CP1 or CP2 (foot Player). Only Veterans who are stroke survivors or have a traumatic brain injury fitting the specific BC1 functional profile maybe eligible for BC1 Competition. Players may be assisted by one Sport Assistant, who should be positioned behind the playing box in a designated area. These Sport Assistants perform tasks such as: adjust or stabilize the playing chair, passing a ball to the Player, and rolling the ball.
Individual BC2 is played by Players classified within the CPISRA Classification system as CP2 (U). Only Veterans who are stroke survivors or have a traumatic brain injury fitting the specific BC2 functional profile maybe eligible for BC2 competition. Players are not eligible for assistance by a Sport Assistant. They can only ask for assistance from the Referee, in their time, to pick up a dropped ball from the court or to go into the court.
Individual BC3 (Players using an assistive device) is played by Players with a very severe locomotor dysfunction in all four extremities of a cerebral or non-cerebral origin. Players will not functionally propel the wheelchair and will be dependent on assistance or an electric wheelchair. Players will have no sustained grasp or release action. They may have arm movement, but have insufficient functional range of movement to consistently propel a Boccia ball into court. Veterans who are stroke survivors, have a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or other disability fitting the specific BC3 functional profile maybe eligible for BC3 competition. Each Player is allowed to be assisted by a Sport Assistant, who will remain in the player’s box, but who must keep his/her back to court, and eyes averted from play.
Individual BC4 is played by Players with a severe locomotor dysfunction of all four extremities combined with poor dynamic trunk control, with non-cerebral origin or degenerative cerebral origin. The Player will be able to demonstrate sufficient dexterity to manipulate and throw a Boccia ball consistently into court. Poor grasp and release will be evident, combined with poor timing of release and follow through. Lack of control over smoothness and speed of movement and synchronization may also be observable. Veterans who are spinal cord injured or have another disability fitting the specific BC4 functional profile maybe eligible for BC4 competition. Players are not eligible for assistance by a Sport Assistant. They can only ask assistance from the Referee, in their time, to pick up a dropped ball from the court or go into the court.
For more information on the sport of Boccia, a copy of the official rules, the 2012 National Championship registration packet, Boccia Activity cards and more, visit the BlazeSports website at: http://www.blazesports.org/sports/boccia/.
BlazeSports would like to thank the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Local Organizing Committee of the 2012 Richmond National Veterans Wheelchair Games for providing the opportunity for BlazeSports to offer Boccia as a demonstration sport. Thanks also to Charles Brown, veteran and member of the BlazeSports National Boccia Team and John Powell, also a veteran, for assisting with the officiating. Special thanks to Kathryn Wilson and all the fantastic volunteers that helped run the event.
See you in Tampa in 2013!