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It’s that time of the week when at the Paralympics the sport that has everyone on their heels or wheels . This sport will either make you a lifetime fan or a hater of the sport. It is time for the world to know about the sport of wheelchair rugby. Get Ready Rio!
Wheelchair rugby was introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. I had only been playing the sport for about a year and a half. I knew already what the world will now see. That is it the fasted and most hard hitting sport at the Rio games. It is the only wheelchair sport that encourages contact. No, not person to person contact but that does happen too. But wheelchair to wheelchair contact is on point. It is the only sport where collisions, slams and loud bangs take center stage. I do love all the sports at the Paralympics, but let’s get real here; there is nothing at the Paralympics and maybe even the Olympics where contact is very much a part of the game. Contact is a premium in regards to a successful team. There is strategy to the sport, but at the end of the day everyone wants to see someone get knocked out of their wheelchair.
In my 20 years of playing wheelchair rugby, the teams that were the most physical typically won the match. Although contact is a must, speed and strategy typically win the game. At the end of the day, the team that causes the most turnover and scores after the turn over will win the game. It is not brain surgery but you can get your brains scrambled if you don’t have your head on a swivel. At the Paralympic level, the world’s greatest players in wheelchair rugby will be in full force. It will be team USA that is always on the spotlight as every team from other countries are looking to knock off the top dog. Yes, Australia is the defending champ, Japan is the new team on the block, and Canada always seems to get the best of team USA, but make no doubt that Team USA wheelchair rugby is what every other country looks to take down.
So, as you tune in to wheelchair rugby either on TV or live stream remember that wheelchair rugby is the real deal. It is not a sport for the meek and it can be violent at times, some people compare it to gladiators, but just remember that at the end of day, you will be watching the fastest growing sport in the world. Enjoy!