Monique Burkland blocks a volleyball against a competitor at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Members of the U.S. women's sitting volleyball team blocking a competitor during the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

Standing volleyball first appeared in the Paralympic program at the 1976 Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sitting volleyball was introduced at the following Games in Arnhem, Netherlands. 

Paralympic volleyball is divided into two major disciplines: sitting and standing.  For the Athens Games in 2004, however, only sitting volleyball was on the Paralympic program.  Athens also introduced the first Paralympic competition for women's sitting volleyball, and the U.S. came away with the bronze medal.

Paralympic volleyball follows the same rules as its non-disabled counterpart with a few modifications to accommodate the various disabilities.  In sitting volleyball, the net is about 3.5 feet high, and the court is 10 x 6 meters with a two-meter attack line. Players are allowed to block serves, but one "cheek" must be in contact with the floor whenever they make contact with the ball.  In standing volleyball, a mix of disabilities must be represented on the court at all time to equalize the level of play.

Paralympic volleyball competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation/limb loss, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke. The U.S. Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Team and the day-to-day operations of the high performance program are overseen by USA Volleyball, the National Governing Body for sitting volleyball in the United States.

To learn more about sitting volleyball, visit USA Volleyball's website or contact USA VolleyballTo find a local program in your community, visit the Paralympic Resource Network.