Wheelchair rugby is also known as ‘quad rugby’ in the United States of America, and also has the nickname ‘Murderball’ because it can get brutal at times!
Wheelchair rugby was first developed in Canada in the 1970’s by quadriplegic athletes. It was then presented as a demonstration sport at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games before making its debut as a medal sport at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
The sport includes men and women on the same teams and is played across 25 different countries. In this sport, ball-handling skills such as passing, catching, carrying and dribbling are required as well as wheelchair skills including pushing, starting, stopping, directional changes, tackling and blocking.
Wheelchair rugby is open to athletes with disabilities that include at least some loss of function in at least three limbs. Most players have spinal cord injuries but players can also qualify through multiple amputations, neurological disorders or other medical conditions.
Wheelchair rugby is played in teams made up of at least four players, each competing for four periods of eight minutes each, on a regular sized indoor basketball court. A goal is scored when a player in possession of the ball crosses the opposition’s goal line. When in control of the ball, players must dribble or pass the ball every ten seconds, making for a very fast-paced game. Physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game as lies within the rules.
At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, 96 Para athletes from 8 countries competed in 1 different medal events.
For more information on Wheelchair rugby visit the International Wheelchair rugby Federation.
In New Zealand, Wheelchair rugby is currently played widely at the community, national and international level, with opportunities to progress to the International level. Register your interest now!