Sarah Adam trains with the U.S. wheelchair rugby team ahead of the 2022 Wheelchair Rugby World Championships.
Wheelchair rugby player Sarah Adam grew up with an older and younger brother and is used to being outnumbered by guys. So naturally, she should feel right at home at the 2022 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship in Vejle, Denmark on Oct. 10-16, where she will be one of only two U.S. women who were selected on the 12-player roster.
Her teammate — and fellow female — Liz Dunn was also selected to the squad. This is Dunn’s second season playing for the national team, but it will be her first time playing in a world championship.
“Being able to represent the U.S. is such an honor, especially as a woman in a male-dominated sport. To have the opportunity to travel and play the sport I love while also encouraging other women to join a sport that they can play, too,” Dunn shared.
Even though wheelchair rugby has always been a co-ed sport since it made its Paralympic debut in Sydney in 2000, it was a big deal when two women were named to the U.S. national team in December 2021.
“There was such a whirlwind about me and Liz being females in a male-dominated sport,” Adam said. While the narrative was focused on their gender, Adam wanted the focus to be on them being athletes first and foremost. That is until she had a conversation with the team’s interim head coach and 13-time national team member, Joe Delagrave.
“I spent some time talking with Joe about what it means for other females that are out there that may have a disability and want to compete. If I can have even a little bit of a part in opening doors for females to join the sport, then I am happy to do that and excited to have that opportunity,” said the Naperville, Illinois native.
This year has been an exceptional one for the U.S. team who has won both the Americas Championship in Medellin, Colombia, and the Tri Nations Invitational in Birmingham, AL. Team USA will be looking for gold in Denmark as the top of the podium has eluded them since 2010, despite medaling at every world championship since it began in 1995.
The 12 players chosen for the world championship team consist of eight Paralympians and four rookies.
“There’s been a lot of learning going on,” Adam said about their time with Delagrave. “And some new things that we’re putting in place that have been radically different from what they’ve been doing for the last several years. I think we’re going to see that benefitting us coming into worlds and then certainly leading into Paris.”