paralympics
Wheelchair Rugby

Julio Cesar Braz of Brazil competes against Patrice Dagenais of Canada during the International Wheelchair Rugby Championship test event for the Rio 2016 Paralympics match between Brazil and Canada. (

What's it all about?

Have you ever wanted to watch a sport that used to be known as… Murderball? Have you ever wanted to watch a sport that has non-stop action and no protective padding, where it's totally OK to smash into opponents and knock them over? If that sounds cool, then you’re going to love wheelchair rugby!

How it's played

Things to watch for

an athlete's wheelchair is on its side as he hold the ball
Great Britain's Jim Roberts goes over in the scoring zone in the Australia vs. Great Britain wheelchair rugby match during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Bob Martin for OIS/Getty Images)
Contact sport
  • Wheelchair rugby is a real contact sport. 
  • You'll see a lot of wheelchair flips, which is part of the sport's appeal.
the wheelchair on the right has a rounded bumper and is used for offense
Daisuke Ikezaki in action during the Men's Wheelchair Rugby bronze medal match against Canada at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Offense and Defense
  • There are two types of wheelchairs — one for offense and one for defense. 
  • Offense — rounded bumpers used for moves like getting through narrow spaces
  • Defense — long bumper at the front.
an athlete holds the ball in his lap as he makes it over the opponent's try line
Travis Murao of Canada scores against Ryley Batt of Australia during the gold medal match at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Two to score
  • To get a point, not only must they be in control of the ball, but two of their wheels have to cross the line. 
  • That could be both big wheels, one big wheel and one small wheel or both small wheels.