Wheelchair Rugby – conceived by some courageous men in the 70’s with a basketball and a trash can - was once called Murder Ball.
Watching a game, you soon wonder why they changed the name - as specially designed wheelchairs smash into one another. Contact is common and strong.
The four players on each team carry, dribble, or pass a volleyball down a basketball court and try to get over the goal line with both wheels to score. The ball must be bounced at least once every 10 seconds. Once the ball goes into play, the team only has 40 seconds to score a goal! So if you’re looking for a dynamic, fast moving and full contact game, wheelchair rugby is the sport for you!
The players are classified according to their level of functional ability and are assigned a point value from 0.5 to 3.5 points – the higher the points, the more functional ability the athletes have. Teams can have no more than 8 total points between their 4 players. Also players also must have a disability involving at least 3 limbs.
From August 2 – 5 2017, six of the world’s finest wheelchair rugby teams, including three international teams, did battle on court in the 2017 GIO Wheelchair Rugby National Championships at Sydney Olympic Park.
Australia’s top state teams from NSW, VIC, and QLD went head to head with national teams from Canada, Japan and New Zealand.
The aggressive full contact games were enjoyed by the crowd over the weekend.
The outcome: NSW held their National Title and Japan won the Gold Medal.
How to get involved in Wheelchair Rugby in Austraila
Disability Sports Australia is Australia’s national body that represents athletes with physical disabilities. Its website has information on each sport including rules, classification, where the game is played and which organisations in different states run the sports.
There are organisations in almost every state that run wheelchair rugby competitions; at a social or competitive level.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, Wheelchair Sports NSW runs wheelchair rugby as well as a variety of other sports.
Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association operates wheelchair rugby in Queensland.
In Victoria, Disability Sport and Recreation runs wheelchair rugby and has partnered with Victoria Rugby Union to name the teams in the league after Rugby Union teams.
In South Australia, Disability, Recreation and Sports SA run wheelchair rugby competitions as well as numerous other sports at both a social and competitive level.
Rebound WA runs sport programs and can assist you in getting involved in wheelchair rugby.
Wheelchair rugby is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if it sounds like something you’d be interested in, why not give it a go?