Josh Wheeler carries the ball during a competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Josh Wheeler moving the ball forward for the United States at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

Rugby made its Paralympic debut as a demonstration event in Atlanta in 1996.  It became a medal sport in Sydney in 2000, where the United States won the gold medal. The game was first developed in Canada as a team sport for quadriplegic athletes, and was originally known as "murderball" because of its intense physical nature. After being introduced in the United States, the name was changed to "quad rugby," but it is also commonly known as wheelchair rugby.

The objective of wheelchair rugby is for a player to carry a ball across the opponent's goal line in order to score a point. A volleyball is used and must be bounced or passed between teammates at least once every 10 seconds during play. The sport is played in four eight-minute stop-time quarters indoors on a basketball court. All players are classified based on their abilities from 0.5 to 3.5 points. Four players from each team are allowed on the court at a time and the classification value between them cannot exceed eight points.

Paralympic wheelchair rugby competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation/limb loss, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke. The U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team and the day-to-day operations of the high performance program are overseen by Lakeshore Foundation, the National Governing Body for Paralympic wheelchair rugby in the United States.

To learn more about  wheelchair rugby, visit Lakeshore Foundation's website or email Lakeshore Foundation. Find a local program in your community by visiting the Paralympic Resource Network.