Happy Anniversary!

Jun 08, 2015
Tagged with: Happy Anniversary!

With the 25th year of celebration for the Americans with Disabilities Act in full swing, I would be remiss if failed to mention a historical event that very much smacks of the rewards and benefits of the ADA.This benefit did not come from any action or movement derived from the law. It does not even have anything to do with the ADA itself from a legal perspective. No, this anniversary celebration is to recognize an achievement of the motion picture industry. It was 10 years ago this summer that the documentary film “Murderball,” was released.

For me, all of the “Murderball hysteria,” started in West Manhattan, New York on June 7th, 2005 at the Sunshine cinema. It was there that I had my first ever red carpet moment. I literally rolled down a red carpet, posed for photos and gave interviews to newspaper writers. Although I would never be confused for being Brad Pitt, I could not help but feel a little overwhelmed with the attention. What was even more interesting was to see how the film would be viewed by the public. All of the reviews had been positive. Success at the Sunshine film festival gave “Murderball” instant credibility. Even Siskel and Ebert gave “Murderball” two thumbs-up. However, as I was going through this experience what kept playing in my mind was is this real? Are people really going to embrace a film on people with disabilities? Do people even care about wheelchair rugby? Do people even care about the lives of people with disabilities?

As the film continued to become more and more successful and I as I would go on to attend over 70 premieres of the documentary, I realized that my answer was a resounding YES!! People may have had various reasons on why they liked “Murderball” but at the end of the day people from all walks of life did come watch this film.

Although the film was not a major movie release and it did not garner 100’s of millions of dollars, it did impact a small segment of population. It did gain the interest of health professionals, caregivers, healthcare providers, educators and fitness professionals. More importantly, it made a dent within disability culture. It is this small segment of disability culture along with the 56 million Americans with disabilities in which this film was to benefit.

Since Murderball, TV shows, comedians, and other films have featured people with disabilities. In our society more awareness needs to be done to increase opportunities for fitness, education and employment. A greater awareness of disability issues such as accessibility, person first language and Paralympic sport have been in the forefront.  It has become my responsibility to reach mainstream America with one message, that we are people who benefit from an inclusive society.  When given opportunities to participate, people with disabilities succeed whether it is education, employment, recreation/sport and life.  Oh yeah and once in while we do make a BIG IMPACT in films. Have you seen the “Murderball” movie recently?






Author: Bob Lujano