All about Wheelchair Rugby

That's why it's called Murder Ball !

Wheelchair Rugby, also known as Murder Ball or Quad Rugby in America, was developed in Canada in 1977. The rules of are based on other sports. These sports include basketball, ice hockey, and handball.

It is a contact sport. Physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game.

There are currently twenty-six countries competing. Many more countries are developing the game. Active countries that currently play the game are divided into three zones. These are the Americas, Europe and Asia/Oceania. 

The game consists of two teams of twelve players. In a game only four players from each team are allowed on the court at one time. This is a mixed gender sport with both men and women competing against each other. The game is played indoors on a hard court with the same measurements as a basketball court.

Players score a try by carrying the ball across the goal line. For a try to count a player must have two wheels of their wheelchair over the goal line. When a player has possession of the ball they must either bounce or pass the ball. Failure to do so will result in the loss of possession to the opposing team. 

A wheelchair designed for Wheelchair Rugby.

Physical contact between wheelchairs is permitted; this makes the game more exciting. Fouls can either be defensive or offensive fouls. A defensive foul is penalised by a one minute penalty, while an offensive foul is penalised by a loss of possession. Some of the common fouls that occur are spinning, illegal use of hands and holding.

Much like able bodied rugby, the game is fluid and fast moving with possession going back and forth between the teams while play continues. Players can only be subbed during a stoppage in play.


Buy Wheelchair Rugby gear in the UK and Ireland.

Click here to shop in the UK and Ireland.

Buy Wheelchair Rugby gear in the UK and Ireland.

Click here to shop in the USA.


If you are looking for books or DVDs on this sport, clothing or equipment, we have them here.  Instead of having to wade through Amazon's huge catalogue, we have created and refined product lists for you.  If you buy items through these links, we will earn a small commission from the sale, and it will be at NO extra cost to you.

You may buy from either shop regardless of your location, but extra delivery charges may apply if international delivery results.


The game is played in manual wheelchairs. Key features of wheelchair designed include: a front bumper, which is designed to help strike opponents, wings which are positioned in front to make wheelchairs more difficult to stop and hold, and an anti-tipping device, which stops the player from tipping backwards.

Another feature of a rugby wheelchair is strapping, which is used to keep the players securely seated in their wheelchairs. They also help the occupant of the wheelchair maintain a good seating position.

The final specification for a wheelchair is spoke protectors. These are designed to protect the wheels from damage (and also to prevent damage to unwary fingers).

Players also use personal equipment which can include gloves or applied adhesive which can help with ball handling.

The ball is identical in size to a volleyball and are of soft touch design with a surface that is textured for better grip. They are also over-inflated to provide a better bounce.

The USA Wheelchair Rugby Team

The first Championships were held in 1995, at Nottwil, Switzerland. The winners of the first tournament were the United States who beat Canada. In 1996 in the Paralympics in Atlanta, Wheelchair Rugby was a demonstration sport. Again just like the year previously it was the United States who prevailed beating New Zealand. Four years later in The Sydney Paralympics, Wheelchair Rugby was officially classed as an official event. The most successful team when it comes to the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships is The United States team, who have won it on four occasions.

USA Team Training
Big Hit

Buy Wheelchair Rugby gear in the UK and Ireland.

Click here to shop in the UK and Ireland.

Buy Wheelchair Rugby gear in the USA.

Click here to shop in the USA.


If you are looking for books or DVDs on Wheelchair Rugby, clothing or equipment, we have them here.  Instead of having to wade through Amazon's huge catalogue, we have created and refined product lists for you.  If you buy items through these links, we will earn a small commission from the sale, and it will be at NO extra cost to you.

You may buy from either shop regardless of your location, but extra delivery charges may apply if international delivery results.


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