It may sound like an oxymoron but murderball (aka wheelchair rugby) has given new life to many people who have recently suffered devastating injuries and illnesses that have left them with a permanent disability.
Murderball is a full contact, aggressive sport for any person with quadriplegia (partial or full paralysis in all four limbs). It was invented by a group of Canadians in the late 70s. Unlike wheelchair basketball which requires the ability to dribble and shoot the ball, limiting the role that quadriplegics can play, wheelchair rugby allows all players with varying levels of functional ability to play an important part on the team. Teams are co-ed.
There are four players from each team on the court at all times, and each player is assigned a number starting from a rating of 0.5, indicating a player with the most severe disability. The aggregate rating of 8 points per team is allowed on the court at a time.
A goal is scored by having possession of the ball and crossing the goal line with both wheels of the player’s wheelchair.
Most players have suffered spinal cord injuries; others have faced multiple amputations, or have neurological disorders or other medical conditions. When this happens to someone, it’s a life-changing event that may cause them to feel devastation, depression and despair. But by playing wheelchair rugby – and experiencing no limits to what they can achieve on the court – these players have a sense of freedom, which ultimately gives them hope. People may tell them that their bodies are fragile; playing murderball says otherwise.
Apply that mindset to their everyday lives and these people become even stronger, and determined to live their lives with no limitations. And you can too! When faced with a challenge, find a solution. Can’t go up the stairs of the porch to enter the home? Look into getting a porch lift. Can’t afford one? Research available funding both nationally and locally. Speak to an local expert who’s knowledgeable in available products and funding. There’s always a way.
Now, I understand that murderball may not be for everyone, but finding your passion and what motivates you is; it can be a sport, the arts, a job or a cause. Life doesn’t have to be full of roadblocks, just lessons and opportunities.