Murderball: the name alone sounds like a James Bond film or fight-to-the-death Gladiator event in ancient Rome. Although Murderball is not quite as deadly as a secret agent or as vicious as a battle in the Collosieum, many of its players have faced a near-death experience before ending up on the court.
Origins of Murderball
Also known as Quad Rugby or Wheelchair Rugby, Murderball is an aggressive, full contact, international sport that can trace its history back to 1979. Three quadriplegic Canadians, inspired by Wheelchair Basketball, combined elements of rugby and hockey with the wheelchair accessibility of a basketball court. Murderball was born.
A few years later the sport expanded to the U.S. and has been growing in popularity amongst athletes and spectators looking for a unique athletic event, and it is extremely athletic. The sport officially became a part of the Paralympics in 2000 and now has 25 countries competing for the gold.
Quadriplegic Rugby Basics
Quadriplegic rugby is co-ed and despite being nominally associated with quadriplegics, the sport is open to people with any disability that affects their arms and legs. Most players have suffered a spinal cord injury and are partially paralyzed, although some players are disabled due to polio, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, amputations, dysmelia or neurological conditions. Players are ranked into one of seven point classes according to the severity of their disability. As is standard practice in many Paralympic team games, the average disability ranking of the entire team must be within a certain range in order to prevent a team from playing only those with milder forms of disability.
How is it Played
Players compete using specialized wheelchairs designed to handle the rigor and speed of a match. The chairs are lighter weight and have aggressive wheel positions for increased stability. Additional straps help secure athletes to their chair. Four players per team are allowed on the court and the object is to move a volleyball-sized ball across the opposing team’s goal line. Total game time is 31 minutes divided into eight-minute quarters with one minute between quarters and a five-minute halftime. In the event of a tie, games are extended by three-minute increments until a team scores; games cannot end in a tie.
An Inspiring Event
Players and supporters of Quad Rugby can attest to the benefits that come from being involved in the sport. Their motto is “smashing stereotypes, one hit at a time.” The aggressive spirit and athletic ability on display during a match can certainly inspire the audience and potential players who may be trying to cope after a disabling accident. Experienced players have cited the game as an excellent source of camaraderie, exercise and positive thinking.
If you are interested in learning more about Murderball, please visit the site here. There are clubs all across the United States with regularly scheduled games and team events.
Spinal cord injury is one of the most common causes of disability amongst wheelchair rugby players. Please contact us if you have suffered a spinal cord injury. Our attorneys specialize in brain and spinal cord related injury cases and offer a free consultation to help you determine your options and plan a course of action.