The History of Murderball aka Wheelchair Rugby

People who really enjoy watching Wheelchair Rugby often wonder how it came about. There is no doubt that it has proven to be a great success for not only the participants, but for the fans as well. A true appreciation can be gained in very few moments after getting to witness the skills and agility of those who have qualified to play in Wheelchair Rugby.

The first version of Wheelchair Rugby all began in Canada, not all that long ago, as it was first introduced in 1977. It was the brainchild of….

  • Jerry Terwin
  • Duncan Campbell
  • Randy Dueck
  • Paul Lejeune
  • Chris Sargent

These 5 were recognized as Canadian Wheelchair Athletes. The concept of Wheelchair Rugby is that it was going to be reserved as a sport for tetraplegics. Tetraplegics are commonly known as quadriplegics. It means that there has been some degree of loss in all four limbs.

One may think that the premise behind the game would be quite docile, but it worked into being a full-contact sport that was so aggressive that it was originally called Murderball. Players take offencive and defensive roles. It became so popular in Canada that by the 1980s, the USA began to form its own teams, and this was followed by Great Britain.

This sport grew quickly in its popularity, not because it was unusual due to the handicaps of the players, but because the skills, agility and ability to be able to handle the wheelchairs were so impressive, that the game quickly garnered the respect of spectators who enjoy any sport based on the skills and commitment that it demands.

It wasn’t long before Wheelchair Rugby became competitive and enjoyed its first international tournament if 1989 which was held in Toronto. This was made up of competitive teams from the USA, Canada, and Great Britain.

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