Interested in Learning More About the Sport of Rugby?
Wheelchair Rugby was invented in 1977 by a Canadian group of quadriplegic athletes who were looking for a sport that would allow players with reduced arm and hand function to participate equally. Originally known as “murderball” because of its intense physical nature, the sport’s name was changed to “quad rugby,” but it is also commonly known as wheelchair rugby. By 1993 wheelchair rugby was officially recognized as a sport for athletes with disabilities and the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation was founded. In 1994 Wheelchair Rugby was recognized by the International Paralympic Committee as a Paralympic sport allowing the first Wheelchair Rugby Wheelchair Rugby World Championships to be held in Switzerland the following year. Wheelchair Rugby then made its Paralympic debut as a demonstration event in Atlanta in 1996. It became a medal sport in Sydney in 2000, where the United States won the gold medal.
USA Wheelchair Rugby currently operates with the Lakeshore Foundation as their National Governing body and are overseen by the US Olympic Committee. In 2013 USA Wheelchair Rugby partnered with USA Rugby in order to collaborate in the growth of Rugby in America.
Learn Wheelchair Rugby:
The objective of wheelchair rugby is for a player to carry a ball across the opponent’s goal line in order to score a point. A volleyball is used and must be bounced or passed between teammates at least once every 10 seconds during play. The sport is played in four eight-minute stop-time quarters indoors on a basketball court. All players are classified based on their abilities from 0.5 to 3.5 points. Four players from each team are allowed on the court at a time and the classification value between them cannot exceed eight points.
Paralympic wheelchair rugby 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.
Wheelchair Rugby is a simple game with complex strategies for playing both offense and defense. It is played with a volleyball on a basketball-size court with goal lines marked by cones and a lined-off “key” area (see diagram).
The object of the game is to score a goal (1 point) by crossing the goal line with possession of the ball while the opposing team is defending that goal. The team with the most points when time runs out wins.
Looking for a Way to Get Involved?
Contact Lakeshore Foundation to find out more about the sport and what opportunities are in your community. There are more than 40 active teams in the United States.