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Boccia has been a part of the Paralympic Games since 1984. Although the game originated long ago in Italy, its popularity has spread worldwide.  Boccia was originally presented as a sport for athletes with cerebral palsy (CP), but is now open to all athletes with severe physical disabilities  Boccia tests the athlete's coordination, accuracy, concentration, and ability to strategize.

Boccia is played indoors on a flat, smooth surface by either individuals ,teams of three or pairs. Athletes throw, kick or use an assistive device to propel leather balls as close as possible to a white target ball (the jack). There are six red balls and six blue balls.  In an individual match each player throws six balls.  A match has four ends. Throwers with CP play in teams of three, each getting two of the balls. They play six ends.  A pair of two plays four ends, each getting three balls.  Pair games are played by athletes with disabilities of non-cerebral origin who throw and by athletes who use a ramp as an assistive device to propel the ball.

The U.S. national governing body for the sport of boccia is BlazeSports of America.

Paralympic boccia competition is open to male and female athletes with severe locomotor disabilities of a cerebral or non-cerebral origin, including individuals with CP, stroke, traumatic brain injury, high-level spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, ALS and arthrogryposis.  For additional information on eligibility, go to www.bisfed.com.

E-mail your questions about boccia.  Find a local program in your community - visit the Paralympic Resource Network.

For more information about Paralympic boccia, visit United Cerebral Palsy's boccia page.