Looking for a fast, frenetic yet friendly sport, played at a high octane pace?
Well look no further than wheelchair rugby.
What’s this then?
This competitive team sport offers players an adrenaline filled challenge which requires fast hands, sharp minds and quick thinking.
It is played indoors in over twenty-five countries around the world and ‘Murderball’, as it is also less affectionately referred to, has rules which include elements from wheelchair basketball, ice hockey, handball and rugby union.
Who can play?
Wheelchair rugby is mostly played by two teams of up to twelve players. Only four players from each team may be on the court at any time. It is a mixed gender sport, and both male and female athletes play on the same teams.
The majority of players tend to have spinal cord injuries with full or partial paralysis of the legs and partial paralysis of the arms. Other disability groups who play include those with cerebral palsy, amputations and neurological conditions. Players are assigned a functional level in points, and each team is limited to fielding a team with a total of eight points.
What’s the aim of the game?
Apart from a crazy amount of fun and some crash, bang and wallop, the aim is to work as a team to win the ball, keep the ball and then carry the ball across the goal line.
For a goal to count, two wheels of the player's wheelchair must cross the line while the player has possession of the ball.
What do I need to play?
If you’re up for this sport then you certainly don’t need courage or determination as you’ve clearly already got it by the bucket load. Therefore apart from gloves to help grip the ball, all you need is the right type of wheelchair and you’re good to go.
Players use custom-made sports wheelchairs that are specifically designed for wheelchair rugby. Key design features include a front bumper, designed to help strike and hold opposing wheelchairs, and wings, which are positioned in front of the main wheels to make the wheelchair more difficult to stop and hold.
All wheelchairs must be equipped with spoke protectors, to prevent damage to the wheels, and an anti-tip device at the back.
Where can I play?
The sport is rapidly growing in popularity and there are teams up and down the UK, with new ones being set up regularly.
The Irwin Mitchell-sponsored The North East Bulls Wheelchair Rugby Club compete in the national league against the Leicester Tigers, Gaelic Warriors, Team Solent and Sharks and many more.
If you want to find out where your nearest club is, simply head to the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby page and in a few seconds you’ll have all the information you need.
Anything else I need to know?
Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby is always looking for volunteers to help out local clubs and get more players taking part than ever before.
How do I find out more?
Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby is here to lead, promote, grow and support wheelchair rugby for the enjoyment for all in England, Scotland and Wales.
They’re here to help, so check out their website for more about the hard hitting sport.