Wheelchair Tennis History

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Wheelchair Tennis was founded in 1976 by Brad Parks and Jeff Minnenbraker in the USA. After an accident that left Brad Parks paralyzed, Brad read an article about Jeff Minnenbraker who played tennis from a wheelchair. Soon thereafter, Jeff and Brad set about playing and promoting wheelchair tennis as a sport across the USA. Today there are over 50,000 wheelchair tennis players around the world. Competitive wheelchair tennis originated thanks to Brad Parks.

brad parksWheelchair Tennis grew so fast that it was introduced as an exhibition sport at the 1988 Summer Paralympics in Seoul, Korea. It wasn’t until the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona, Spain that wheelchair tennis became an official event. There is also a professional touring circuit that encompasses 128 countries.

There are two divisions in competitive wheelchair tennis – paraplegic and quadriplegic. To be eligible to compete, a player must have a medically diagnosed permanent mobility related disability that result in a substantial loss of function in one or both lower extremities.

Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, with one exception. That being, the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces instead of one.

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