"...a full contact, fast and dynamic sport..."
Wheelchair Rugby is a full contact, fast and dynamic sport for by both male and female athletes.
A unique sport created by disabled athletes, it combines elements of rugby, basketball and handball.
Players compete in teams of four to carry the ball across the opposing team's goal line. Contact between wheelchairs is permitted, and is in fact an integral part of the sport as players use their chairs to block and hold opponents.
To be eligible to play Wheelchair Rugby, individuals must have a disability which affects the arms and legs. Most players have spinal cord injuries with full or partial paralysis of the legs and partial paralysis of the arms. Other disability groups who play include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, amputations, polio, and other neurological conditions. Men and women compete on the same teams and in the same competitions.
Players are assigned a sport classification based on their level of disability; teams must field players with a mix of classification values, allowing players with different functional abilities to compete together.
Additional information and useful links
History of Wheelchair Rugby
History of Wheelchair Rugby
Wheelchair Rugby, originally named Murderball, was invented in Canada in 1977 by a group of quadriplegic athletes who were looking for an alternative to Wheelchair Basketball. They wanted to create a sport which players with reduced arm and hand function could participate in equally.
The USA was the next country to start playing Wheelchair Rugby followed by Britain in the early 1980s.
The first international tournament took place in Toronto in Canada in 1989 and included teams from Canada, the USA and Great Britain. The sport then made its debut at the World Wheelchair Games in 1990 as a demonstration sport.
In 1993, with 15 countries now participating in the sport, Wheelchair Rugby was recognised as an official international sport for athletes with a disability and the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) was founded.
In 1996 Wheelchair Rugby was included as a demonstration sport in the Atlanta Paralympic Games before becoming a full medal sport four years later in Sydney.
The sport is now played at elite level in 25 countries across the world, with a further 20 targeted for development.
National Governing Body
Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby (GBWR)
Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Limited (GBWR) is the national governing body for Wheelchair Rugby in England, Scotland and Wales. It is a national member organisation of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF).
GBWR is a charitable company limited by guarantee and was incorporated in February 2007. GBWR receives government and National Lottery funding from Sport England and UK Sport, in addition to partner support and sponsorship and charitable donations.
GBWR's mission is 'to lead, promote, grow and sustain Wheelchair Rugby for the enjoyment of all, inspiring and achieving excellence in everything we do.'