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QUAD RUGBY...... What is it all about?


Quad Rugby, or Wheelchair Rugby as it is also called, is a sport with roots going back to wheelchair basketball and ice hockey, which is not surprising, since it was developed by three Canadians from Winnipeg, Manitoba as a quadriplegic equivalent to wheelchair basketball. The sport was originally called Murderball due to the aggressive nature of the game. It was introduced in the United States in 1981 by Brad Mikkelsen, who with the aid of the University of North Dakota's Disabled Student Service's, formed the first team, the Wallbangers, and changed the game's name from Murderball to Quad Rugby.

In 1979, a team from Winnipeg organized an exhibition at the regional track meet held at Southwest State University in Minnesota. Canada went on to play their first national championship that same year. The first quad rugby match in the US was between North Dakota and Minnesota, as an exhibition game at the 1982 Quad Rugby is an offical Paralympic Sport National Wheelchair games, also held at Southwest State University. This same year, the University of South Dakota hosted the first international tournament, with participating teams from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

In 1988, the United States Quad Rugby Association (USQRA) was formed to help regulate and promote the sport on both a national and international level. Since its introduction, Quad Rugby has grown to become a truly international sport, with teams now competing from around the globe. There are now more than forty-five organized teams in the United States with many others in the developmental stage. In addition to the teams in the US, there is estimated to be at least twenty international teams from as far away as Australia in addition to those in Canada. Without question, quad rugby is the fastest growing wheelchair sport in the world today.


Players may have various disabilities that preclude their play in able-bodied sport competition. Players must have a combination of upper and lower extremity impairment to be considered as eligible to participate. Most of the players have sustained cervical level spinal injuries and have some type of quadriplegia as a result. Players are given a classification number from one of seven classifications ranging from 0.5 - 3.5. The 0.5 player has the greatest impairment and is comparable to a C5 quadriplegic. Of those eligible to participate, the 3.5 player has the least impairment and is similar to a C7-8 incomplete quadriplegic. Both male and females are encouraged to play, and because of the classification process gender advantages don't exist.


Four players from each team are allowed on the court at a time. Classifications of the four players on the court must total no more than 8.0 points at one time. The action occurs on a regulation-sized basketball court with some minor changes.

A goal line at each end of the court measures eight meters.

A key area extends from the goal line and is 1.75 meters deep.

During the games team players pass a volleyball back and forth while advancing into the opponent's half court and then crossing over the goal line with the ball in one player's possession. While the offense is trying to advance the ball, the defense is trying to take it away and keep the opposing team from scoring. Certain restrictions apply in the key area. One restriction is that only three defensive players are allowed in the key, and if a fourth enters, a penalty can be assessed or a goal awarded. Another restriction is that an offensive player can only stay in the key area for ten seconds. Otherwise a turnover will be assessed.


  1. A game consists of four 8 minute periods. There is a 1 minute break between periods and a 5 minute halftime. Each team is awarded 4 timeouts per game. If overtime is needed due to a tie game at the end of regulation play, then 3 minutes are added to the clock and each team is given an additional timeout. A game can not end in a tie.
  2. A player has 15 seconds to advance the ball into the opponents half-court.
  3. The player with the ball has unrestricted pushes, but must pass or dribble the ball every 10 seconds or a turnover is awarded.

  4. Fouls are assessed and penalties can include awarding of a goal, a timed penalty or a turnover.

  5. To score a point, a player must cross the goal line with 2 of their 4 wheels while retaining possession of the ball.