Also known as QUAD RUGBY, wheelchair rugby is a co-ed contact sport performed at the world Paralympic Games. The game is a blend of several sports, including basketball and handball. A volleyball is the ball used, and teams consist of four players on the court at one time.This highly competitive competition blends strategy, strength and athletic ability for a fast-paced game for wheelchair-bound athletes.
Wheelchair rugby began in 1977 in Winnipeg, Canada, according to the International Wheelchair Rugby Foundation. The original name was Murderball, but was later changed to Wheelchair Rugby. The sport's first American team was formed in 1982 and has continued to grow in popularity. In 2000, wheelchair rugby teams competed at the Paralympic Games, an international sports competition, as a full-medal sport. Previously, wheelchair rugby had only been an exhibition sport.
Object The object of wheelchair rugby is to carry the ball across the opponent's goal line, which is defended by a goalie. Both wheels must cross over the line for the goal to count. To get to the goal, a player carries the ball on her lap, but must pass or bounce the ball once every 10 seconds. From the moment a team crosses mid-court, it has 15 seconds to score a goal -- and the ball cannot be brought back across the court by the team. A key zone near the opponent's goal exists where only three opposing and scoring players can compete at any given time.
Eligibility Participants must have a quadriplegic disability that affects their arms and legs, yet must be able to move their arms enough to mobilize a wheelchair. Players are classified based on their disability to ensure a more even playing field. Seven classes exist: 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, etc., up to 3.5. The higher the number, the more functional ability a player has, according to the Paralympic Games website. Disability groups represented in wheelchair rugby include polio, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, dysmelia and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Wheelchair rugby is considered a contact sport because contact is permitted between wheelchairs. However, contact is not permitted between participants, and certain dangerous wheelchair practices are prohibited. These include bumping a player's wheelchair from behind. Personal contact like slapping, hitting, punching or gouging is not permitted. Any illegal action can result in a penalty for participants.