Wheelchair rugby is considered one of the toughest sports in the world. Although physical body contact is not permitted, it is legal for the athletes to use their wheelchairs to block opponents. Collisions are therefore frequent. Players compete in teams of four. Wheelchair rugby is played with a special volleyball. The aim is for players to carry the ball on their laps across the opposing team’s eight-metre goal line. At least once every 10 seconds, the ball must be dribbled or passed to another player.
The sport was invented in Canada in 1977. It was created to give people with spinal cord injuries an equal opportunity to compete in a team sport. Wheelchair rugby has been an established sport at the Invictus Games since 2014. The tournament can be played in mixed-gender teams. There are no minimum requirements for the number of women and men on the teams. Depending on their functional abilities, competitors are classified as ‘maximum’, ‘moderate’ or ‘open’ players. Competitors with psychological injuries are classified as ‘open’. Wheelchair rugby is a sport that builds core and arm muscle strength, increases endurance, and improves coordination and tactical skills.