With less than 90 days until The World Games 2022 (TWG22) in Birmingham, the city is growing more excited for some of the most unique and anticipated sporting competitions. Get ready for the debut of wheelchair rugby a.k.a. “murderball” in The World Games 2022.
Expect the unexpected
If you’re unfamiliar with the sport, wheelchair rugby star Mike DeYoung didn’t hold back when asked to describe what fans can expect at TWG22 competition.
“You’re going to see a lot of chair-on-chair contact. It’s a full-contact sport. You can pretty much do any kind of contact to the opponent’s chair to stop them or block them or hit them out of bounds or knock them over. Whatever it takes. I can’t physically touch the other player with my hands, but I can hit them as hard as I can (with my chair).”Mike DeYoung, Wheelchair Rugby athlete, Team USA
In wheelchair rugby, players use custom wheelchairs designed to withstand constant collisions—pretty handy for a sport like this! According to DeYoung, if a player is hit hard enough and they fall over, it results in a turnover—which is a good thing for the opposing team.
Most players pick up the sport after suffering a spinal cord injury, which leaves them with no or limited mobility or dexterity in at least three of their four limbs. So, the violent collisions may surprise fans and DeYoung agrees.
“A lot of people think quadriplegics are people who can’t move anything, but they’re going to be very surprised by the speed of the game and hard hits and the athleticism that comes with it. It’s loud. The chairs are banging. The benches are going to be screaming.”Mike DeYoung, Wheelchair Rugby athlete, Team USA
Bringing ‘Murderball’ to Birmingham
This summer’s competition in Birmingham will mark the first time wheelchair rugby has been part of The World Games and the first time an adaptive sport is part of the regular sports program at an international, multi-sport event that includes non-adaptive sports.
“Wheelchair rugby offers an exciting, fast-paced game that showcases these unique athletes’ skill, grit and daring. That’s why we think it will be a hot ticket. The ability to see these athletes up-close with a gold medal on the line truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that any sports fan will cherish and enjoy.”Nick Sellers, CEO, The World Games 2022 Birmingham
The Lakeshore Foundation Disability Inclusion Program presented by Drummond Company Inc. has the mission to make The World Games 2022 inclusive and accessible for all by establishing a legacy for disability inclusion in multi-sport events.
Don’t miss the competition
Six teams qualified for TWG22’s wheelchair rugby competition happening at the Birmingham Crossplex from July 14-17, 2022. Those teams include:
- United States
- Great Britain
The competition will be played according to low-point rules. Eligible players are classified according to their functional level and assigned a point value ranging from 0.5 to 1.5. Adding the assigned value for each player, a team’s four-player lineup on the court cannot exceed 3.5 points.
Will you be watching Wheelchair Rugby in The World Games 2022 this summer? Let us know @BhamNow on socials.