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Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s Wheelchair Rugby Team

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Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s Wheelchair Rugby Team
Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 15, 2012 – On October 20-21, 2012, the Grand Rapids Thunder, a wheelchair quad rugby team in the Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, hosted the second annual Thunderfest Quad Rugby Tournament at MVP Field House. The tournament attracted Division II and Division III teams from California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana. 
Quad rugby – often referred to as murderball – is a unique sport available for individuals with quadriplegia; meaning they have impairments in both their lower and upper extremities. Quad rugby is a high intensity sport played with heavy duty sports chairs fit to each individual, ideal for adrenaline junkies. Each game is played on a basketball court complete with plenty of chair-to-chair contact. It is as physical and extreme as the conventionally played rugby.
Located in the Heartland North region under the United States Quad Rugby Association, the Grand Rapids Thunder is in its third year of competing. The team consists of 10 competitive players, who travel as far as Florida for tournaments this season.
“If you’ve never seen wheelchair rugby before, just picture demolition derby in wheelchairs,” describes Nick Long, Grand Rapids Thunder head coach.
Capturing the mind-body connection can be elusive for those with disabilities. Through the Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Program at Mary Free Bed, people with limited mobility are able to feel the exhilaration that comes at the height of physical competition. The sports programs and events offered, like quad rugby, help people with disabilities find the rush they have been looking for.
For more information on the Grand Rapids Thunder and other activities available through Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Program visit,
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital has served the needs of Michigan children and adults for more than 120 years – restoring hope and freedom through rehabilitation. Comprehensive services and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enable specialty physicians and staff to achieve outstanding clinical outcomes.
Mary Free Bed is a not-for profit, nationally accredited, acute care rehabilitation hospital with 80 inpatient beds and numerous outpatient specialty programs at its Grand Rapids location. For additional information, call 800.528.8989 or visit
January 2, 2013 — 10:23am