Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wheelchair Rugby

Wheelchair rugby, (originally murderball, and known as quad rugby in the United States), is a team sport for athletes with a disability. It is practiced in over twenty-five countries around the world and is a summer Paralympic sport. Wheelchair rugby is played indoors on a hardwood court, and physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game with the rules including elements from wheelchair basketball, ice hockey, handball and rugby. The United States’ name is based on the requirement that all wheelchair rugby players need to have disabilities that include at least some loss of function in at least three limbs. Although most have spinal cord injuries, players may also qualify through multiple amputations, neurological disorders or other medical conditions. Players are assigned a functional level in points, and each team is limited to fielding a team with a total of eight points.3

Wheelchair Rugby was invented in 1977 in Winnipeg, Canada by a group of quadriplegic athletes who were looking for an alternative to wheelchair basketball. They wanted a sport which would allow players with reduced arm and hand function to participate equally. The sport first appeared outside of Canada in 1979, at a demonstration at Southwest State University in Minnesota. In 1994, Wheelchair Rugby was officially recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as a Paralympic sport. Currently, there are more than forty countries that actively participate in the sport of wheelchair rugby, or who are developing programs within their nation.1

The United States won the silver medal, losing to Australia 59-58 in the 2016 Paralympic Games. One of the athletes on Team USA was Chuck Melton. Chuck is from Benton, Kentucky and has only ever been to the 2016 Paralympic Games. Melton was in a car accident in 2002 that broke his neck and left him paralyzed. Five years after his accident, he began to play wheelchair rugby. In 2014, he won the bronze medal in the World Championship. He enjoys fishing, hunting, and spending as much time as possible with his family.2


1IWRF. (n.d.). Introduction to Wheelchair Rugby. Retrieved from Internationsl Wheelchair Rugby Federation:
2USA, T. (2016). Chuck Melton - Wheelchair Rugby. Retrieved from Team USA:
3Wikipedia. (2016, November 14). Wheelchair Rugby. Retrieved from Wikipedia:

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