Wheelchair rugby’s no-holds-barred nature quickly earned it the nickname ‘murderball’ soon after its inception. It’s a game loaded with full-contact, hard hits, speed and physical determination, making it a thrilling watch. As one of the only full-contact disability sports, it is little wonder wheelchair rugby was one of the biggest hits of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Wheelchair Rugby is a mixed team sport for individuals with a physical disability or impairment affecting upper and lower limbs.
Many players have spinal cord injuries with full or partial paralysis of the legs and partial paralysis of the arms. Other disability groups include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, amputees, meningitis, polio, and other neurological conditions.
As a team sport for both male and female players, wheelchair rugby has great social benefits and a real sense of belonging within the ‘wheelchair rugby family’.
Sport specific chairs are used, which are purpose built to withstand the big hits and contact involved in wheelchair rugby.
The game is played on a basketball court, with boundary lines, a centre line, centre circle and two key areas. Two cones at each end of the court mark out a goal area, and a goal is scored when a player carries a ball across the line.
Games are played in four eight-minute quarters and each team has 40 seconds to score a goal before the ball gets turned over. Chair-to-chair contact is allowed, but person-to-chair and person-to-person contact is not.
Teams are made up of up to 12 players, with four on court at any one time. Each person has a vital role to play, which is ensured by using a classification system based on muscle function and strength. Classes range from 0.5 to 3.5, and the team of four players must total eight points or less during play.
For the full rules of the game and more information on the sport’s classification system, check out the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation website www.iwrf.com
To find out more about wheelchair rugby in Wales contact Amanda Thomas – firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 07515446731
Useful Websites – www.gbwr.org.uk
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