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History of Wheelchair Softball

Wheelchair Softball was introduced to Australia at the beginning of 2019, with the creation of Social Indoor Wheelchair Softball by Softball Australia. After 3 seasons, there have been 7 teams who have played in this competition: Raptors, Narre Warren Rolling Thunder, Cranny Cats, D-Squad, Julie's Alpacas, Cobras and Spice Girls. The competition has also seen over 40 players play at Casey Stadium with come and try days ran in Geelong, NSW and the Northern Territory.

In mid 2019, the captain of the Raptors wheelchair softball team, Roy Davie reached out to the National Wheelchair Softball Associstion (NWSA) and the International Wheelchair Softball Federation (IWSF) in hopes to establish outdoor wheelchair softball in Australia. With the support of Softball Australia and Casey Softball, an outdoor wheelchair softball competition was set up that would be based on rules set by the NWSA and the IWSF. This would give Australian players with physical disabilities the opportunity and chance to play wheelchair softball against teams all over the world and travel internationally. 

 

Casey Softball, and Raptors players Roy Davie and Liam Fitzgerald set out to create a new competition at Sweeney Reserve, Berwick, Victoria, utilising the netball courts. Whilst the competition never really got off the ground, there was some interest and this is seen as a positive for the sport. If COVID-19 hadn't shut down sports worldwide, Australia may very well have sent a team of players to the USA for the NWSA World Series tournament in August 2020 and also to Japan in October, 2020. Wheelchair Softball Australia is hopeful this will happen in 2021 and will look at setting up tournaments over summer and autumn. Softball Australia, Softball Victoria and Casey Softball are committed and dedicated to helping and assisting with growing wheelchair softball and investing in the future of the sport.

 

Whilst wheelchair softball may be new in Australia, it has a long and decorated history in the USA. Beginning some time the 1970s, the NWSA was formed in 1976. Wheelchair Softball in the USA has grown from one team to now being over 20 teams, with a number of teams affiliated with MLB Teams and local charity organisations.  Each year a Wheelchair Softball World Series is played in the USA with teams from all over USA and internationally competing to be World Series Champions. Japan also plays host to international championships and local compettions. The NWSA and IWSF are also committed to growing the sport internationally and has established wheelchair softball in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ghana, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea and USA utilising rules and regulations developed by the NWSA.

More information about the history of the NWSA, can be found here

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