Wheelchair Rugby: Things to Know


By PNO Staff

It’s about to get physical

Next week, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) will hold several quad rugby matches over the week-long event. Veterans from across the country will put their skills to the test in one of the most intense wheelchair sports available that’s sure to knock the athletes out of their chairs. Starting on June 27, four teams of ten players will compete on the basketball-size courts aiming for gold.

The sport designed for quadriplegics originated from a group frustrated at the limited roles quads could play in wheelchair basketball. Every functionality and skill set was taken into consideration for the game with several classification rankings for players to create equal ability teams.

wheelchair rugby
PNO file photo

Here are eight things to know about wheelchair rugby.

  • The ball must be bounced or passed between teammates at least once every 10 seconds during play.
  • Rugby made its Paralympic debut as a demonstration event in Atlanta in 1996
  • The first Paralympic gold medal for wheelchair rugby was given at Sydney’s 2000 games to the United States.
  • Rugby was originally known as “murderball” because of its intense physical nature.
  • A documentary called “Murderball” was released in 2005, following the experience of a wheelchair rugby team going to the Paralympics. It was nominated for an Oscar.
  • The team must contain at least 4 players and must equal 8 classification points between the players on the court. Classification points range from 0.5 (most disabled) to 3.5 (least disabled for sport eligibility).
  • An elite Wheelchair Rugby player has to replace his wheelchair approximately every 18 months due to the damage it suffers from playing the sport.
  • To be eligible to play, athletes must have a disability that affects at least three of their limbs.

Keep track of your events with the NVWG mobile app available for download for Android and iPhone


wheelchair rugby
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