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Adapted to allow physically-handicapped people to enjoy sports, stimulate their muscles, and engage in exercise to promote their general health, wheelchair softball is a sport not unlike the regular version. However, contrary to what some may think, it is not at all a tame sport.
Played with a ball that is softer than the type used in a regular softball game, the risk of being injured by errant balls is significantly lower, so players may opt to go gloveless. In terms of other equipment, only manual wheelchairs may be used in a game of wheelchair softball, and these must also have foot platforms on them. Players are required to rest their feet on the platforms and not, barring accidents, make contact with the ground at all times. A smooth surface is required too, in order to facilitate unobtrusive wheeling. No grass, gravel, mud, et cetera should be found on the arena surface.
Each team consists of ten players, with at least one quadriplegic - a handicapped person with some degree of paralysis that affects all four limbs. Quadriplegic players are allowed to wear gloves on one or both hands, no matter what position they play. This player must not switch his or her position within the lineup throughout the game. If this condition is not complied with, the team will be called out.
The quadriplegic player may also make alterations to their bats in order to enhance their grip. However, these bats must be presented to the head umpire of the game for authorisation before the start of play.
When batting, the batter must not let any part of his or her lower body come into contact with the ground, or they risk getting called out. When “running” through the bases, they must always remain in their wheelchairs, and touch the bases with at least one wheel. A player will only be deemed to have reached the base when one or more wheels have entered the area that marks it out. Should they get knocked out of their chairs, they may get back on and continue playing, although no lower body contact must be made with the base, nor may they use their lower limbs to propel them towards it.
Defensive players must also not make lower body contact with the ground, nor may they leave their wheelchairs intentionally when playing. The four infield players around the first, second, and third bases must have one or more wheels on or behind the line of the diamond at the start of the game; they may only leave this position to engage in the tussle for the ball after the pitcher has pitched. Each defensive team must also always have at least one quadriplegic player on the pitch, or they will have to play with nine instead of the permitted 10 fielders.
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