Wheelchair Rugby for Beginners
For those of you that have not yet seen WR, firstly it’s a fantastic sport! Hard hitting, fast and aggressive are all words that have been used to sum up a sport that is rapidly growing throughout the world. Once dubbed ‘Murderball’, WR is now practised in forty-nine different countries and has been a recognised Paralympic sport since the Sydney Paralympics in 2000.
Wheelchair Rugby is the only full-contact disability sport around. It can be brutal to watch and certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. But don’t let that put you off, the team camaraderie and social aspect is fantastic.
Like every disability sport there is a classification process that every competitor must go through; though if you are able to push a chair then you are eligible to play! It’s a fully inclusive sport and both men and women can compete. Each player is given a classification depending on the level of their disability and this goes from 0.5 being the most disabled to 3.5 being the least.
Wheelchair Rugby is a combination of Ice-Hockey, American Football and Basketball. At any one time only four players from each team are allowed on court, with unlimited substitutions at any time during the game. WR is played indoors and on a hardwood court using the same measurements as a regulation basketball court. Players must bounce or pass within ten seconds and each player must progress out of their own half within twelve seconds. Once out of their own half a player must cross the line between the two cones at either end of the court to score a point. Whoever has the most point’s wins!
Contact between wheelchairs is permitted, and forms a major part of the game. However physical contact between two athletes isn’t. Wheelchair rugby matches consist of four eight-minute quarters but if the ball goes out of play then the clock is stopped.
So there you have it, an introduction to the incredible world of Wheelchair Rugby. If you would like to see the sport in action simply take a look on YouTube there are plenty of videos on there to wet your appetite and you may even catch the ‘rugby bug’!
Written by Myles Pearson