Friday, July 22, 2005



Generally rugby is seen as a dangerous game. Thus, many assumed that the game could not be adapted for those confined to wheelchairs. This has proven to be a misconception.

Quad rugby is a sport with roots going back to wheelchair basketball: the quadriplegic equivalent to the old-fashioned game of basketball. Wheelchair rugby was originally called murderball due to the aggressive nature of the game. Some continue to use this now "politically incorrect" description.

It was introduced in the United States in 1981 by Brad Mikkelsen, who, with the aid of the Disabled Student Services at the University of North Dakota, formed the first team, the Wallbangers, and changed the game's name to quad rugby. Since then, it continues to be a growing sport amongst young disabled athletes who have strong upper body strength. It has become so popular it is now a paralympic event. Team USA has dominated the sport for years.

Some Quad Rugby rules:
 Played on a regular sized basketball court by four players from each team.
 During the games, team players pass a volleyball back and forth.
 The team must pass the ball into the opponent's half-court within 15 seconds.
 A player with the ball must pass it within 10 seconds.

The game is played by quadriplegics. These are people who are not paralyzed, per se, but have impairment in some or all four limbs. Most players have broken necks and the higher in the spine the injury occurred, the less mobility the person will have. The guys with the most handle the ball while the guys with the least are defensive tackles. The game is tough, like bumper cars on steroids, and wheelchairs and their occupants are upended frequently and violently.

Joe Soares, Head Coach, Canadian National Wheelchair Rugby Team 2001–2004
Robert, his nonathletic son
Mark Zupan, Team USA lead player with a shaved head and a tattoo that reads 'Hit me, I'll hit back'
Christopher Igoe, Mark’s best friend
Bob Lujano, a quadruple amputee who can eat pizza with his elbows
Keith Cavill, a former Motocross competitor still recovering from his spinal injury

The film covers the two principal rivals in the sport, Team Canada and Team USA, for two and a half years including the 2004 PARALYMPIC GAMES in Athens. It's interesting to see how strong is the desire of some to overcome their difficulties without feeling sorry for themselves. An inspirational story, it is informative and entertaining at the same time.

for language and sexual content

No comments: