Wheelchair Rugby: The Evolution Of Wheelchair Rugby

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Wheelchair rugby, formally known as Murderball, was developed in Canada in 1977 by quadriplegic athletes. Quadriplegia is more commonly known as tetraplegia, this is where all four limbs are paralysed and most commonly as a result of a neck injury. Wheelchair Rugby was created as an adaptation of wheelchair basketball, by reducing the amount of hand and arm actions to make the game inclusive for quadriplegic athletes; this was done by removing dribbling. Athletes were classified on their medical diagnosis, in relation to the level of their spinal injury. In 1991this was changed to a functional classification specific to wheelchair rugby, in order to include those with polio, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and amputations. According to Sport England…show more content…
There are currently around 16 clubs across the UK; the sport is still a developing hence why there is one club in Scotland, two in Wales and thirteen in England, compared to 58 wheelchair basketball clubs in the West Midlands alone. At the 1996 Athens Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby was a demonstration sport and in 2000 at the Sydney Paralympic games, wheelchair rugby was first considered a full medal sport and has been ever since. Despite the growth of the sport one of the major barriers is the cost of the chairs. Rugby wheelchairs are specifically designed to withstand collisions and cost around £3,000 (Roma Sport) and according to UK Sport, elite wheelchair rugby players have to replace their chair around every 18 months. Whereas compared to wheelchair basketball the chairs cost around £1,000 to £2,000 (Roma Sport) I have chosen to examine wheelchair rugby, specifically Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby, as I play rugby myself and I am interested in how rugby has been developed into a disability sport. As well as the development of the sport and the development programs in place for

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