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Canada’s “murder ball” team plays this Friday night—open to the public

December 8, 2009

This week Canada’s National Wheelchair Rugby team is training and competing at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence at Camosun College.

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Developed in Canada in 1977, wheelchair rugby is played in over twenty countries around the world and is a Paralympic sport. Also known as “murderball”, the highly-competitive sport of wheelchair rugby is fast and hard-hitting – and hard-landing given the hardwood basketball court floor. The rules include elements of wheelchair basketball, hockey, handball and rugby. It is a contact sport and physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game.

“This is a really exciting game to watch,” says Dr. Andy Van Neutegem, Chair of Camosun College’s Diploma in Sport Management and Sport & Fitness Leadership Degree. “All wheelchair rugby players have disabilities that include at least some loss of function in at least three limbs. Most of the athletes are classified as quadriplegic, although some are functionally closer to paraplegics.”

Canada’s national team won the bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics, and is working hard for a win over Team USA at the Vancouver 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. Team Canada’s Head Coach Kevin Orr has gathered the most elite athletes to train and compete at PISE for a week-long national training camp.

This Friday, December 11 at 6.30 pm the national team players will be divided into two teams, Red versus Black, for a public game at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence at Camosun College’s Interurban campus.

“This is another opportunity Camosun has for our students to get close to athletes and high-level sporting events,” says Van Neutegem. Camosun students from the Bachelor of Sport & Fitness Leadership Degree are currently working with the national team through a course called Adapted Sport & Fitness. Students assist with fitness testing and promotion of the game. The sport science team from Canadian Sport Centre Pacific at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence has also been working closely with the athletes, doing tests and analyzing players using some of the most sophisticated protocols for athletes with disabilities.


Dr. Andy Van Neutegem
Chair, Diploma in Sport Management, Sport & Fitness Leadership Degree

Last updated: December 10, 2009 11:01 am

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