Quad Rugby aka Murder Ball Tournament: 2nd Annual Orange County Rumble

In Sports

This weekend I was invited to participate in a “quad-rugby” tournament with the South Florida Rattlers in Orlando, FL. Also known as “murder ball” or “wheelchair rugby”, quad-rugby is a sport designed specifically for quadriplegics in manual wheelchairs. Therefore, paraplegics (“paras”) such as myself aren’t allowed to participate in official ranked tournaments. Normally I only practice with the South Florida Rattlers. Well, the 2nd Annual Orange County Rumble wasn’t a ranked tournament. So, yours truly was invited to play with the Rattlers this past weekend in a quad-rugby tournament.  Sweeeeeeet.

The rules to quad-rugby are simple. It’s a wheelchair sport, so all players must be seated in a wheelchair designed and re-enforced specifically for wheelchair rugby. It’s played on a basketball size court and the ball used is volleyball. The goal lines are marked at each end with cones, which are each 26′ 3″ wide. Each team is allowed 4 wheelchairs on the court during play. The objective of quad- rugby is to score a goal (1 point each) by crossing the opposing team’s goal line while they try to defend by slamming into the player carrying the ball.  A full game is 4 periods of 8 minutes each, with clock stoppage between plays/goals. The team with the most goals at the end of the 4th period is the victor.

Quad-rugby (“murder ball”) is a full contact sport, but no personal contact is permitted. Meaning, a player is absolutely allowed to drive his rugby wheelchair full speed into another player carrying the ball. Sometimes the ball carrier flips his wheelchair over and ends up on the ground.. This is a legal play. I can hear all the two-footers right now saying “oh heavens to betsy, why on earth would they do that?! They look so fragile.. Those poor disabled people are going to really hurt themselves.” ….. 1) Stop it.. 2) Nobody gets hurt, usually 3) We aren’t as fragile as you may thing, I promise…

On Saturday we played 2 games. The first game was against the Tampa Generals. These guys were a solid team with years of experience together. To be honest, I assumed prior to playing this game , given that I’m a paraplegic with full arm strength playing a team full of quadriplegics, that I would/could have a large impact on the outcome. Well, about 1 minute 30 seconds into the 1st period I had an extremely rude awakening. These guys rocked us to the core, and racked up goals as if we were handing them out for free…  The game would have been over in the 2nd period if there was a mercy rule. Our 2nd game was against the Tampa Generals “B” team… I thought to myself, “surely we can beat their B team”……. Nope. Not at all.. Not for a second.. Not even close.. We got blown out, again. It was a humbling learning experience, and I have nothing but respect for all the guys on the Tampa Generals quad-rugby team. You guys kick ass.

We had only 1 game on Sunday, which was against the Orlando Clash. By the end of a hard fought game we had pulled off a win!

Please feel free to contact me if you or someone you know is interested in playing quad-rugby (aka “murder ball”). If you’re a quadriplegic living in Florida you should absolutely get involved with quad-rugby. Shoot me an email and I’ll get you hooked up with the right team info.  There’s likely a team located closer than you think.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Drenys Macias
    Reply

    Hello, great read just now. Im a t4 para. Ive been looking to get into a competitive sport again. Always wanted to check out quad rugby but always saw that we (paras) are not allowed to partake. Is there something similar that we are allowed to participate in? How come paras dont have thier own league if we are not able to be in ranked games? Is there a para league? Looking forward to any answers you may have. I live in southern orlando. Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Jacob
      Reply

      Wheelchair rugby is super fun. The contact is the best part. But you’re correct, it’s only an official wheelchair sport for quads. That means whenever the tournament is official, para’s like you and I can NOT play. The unofficial tournament you read about on my website was a local Orlando tournament for local Florida teams. Since you live in Orlando I suggest you get in touch with the Orlando rugby team. I’m almost positive they have a couple full time para’s who practice with them every week. Awesome sport and great for conditioning. Their team contact info is in the blog post you read on my website, so take a look and get hold of them.

      Also, I want to recommend possibly getting involved in triathlons. I recently got involved in training for triathlons, and I truly enjoy the conditioning aspect. It’s swimming, cycling (handcycling), and running (racing wheelchair). Google those words and take a look.

      Let me know if you have anymore questions. Rock on.

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