A game of murderball calls attention to Disability Awareness Month

Travis Smith and other team mates settle down after a Murderball scrimmage in the Preston Center. “Murderball get’s me out and gives me something to do,” Smith said. “This was a stepping stone in my therapy twenty years ago; a way to show my independence.” The Murderball team has tournaments scheduled throughout fall and winter, from Atlanta to Birmingham.

Maxis L. Bryant

A group of quadriplegic people met at the Preston Center on Oct. 9 to play a game of murderball, otherwise known as wheelchair rugby. The event was one of many hosted by the Student Accessibility Resource Center for Disability Awareness Month. 

Matt Davis, the assistant director of student services for SARC and host of the murderball event, said his organization wants people to focus on abilities and not disabilities and encourage people to see the person first and the disability second.

“What we try to do is help people to realize that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean that stops you from doing things you want to do,” Davis said.

The goal of the game, much like rugby, is to carry the ball to the end of the court and cross the goal line in order to score in a set amount of time. 

The sport consists of eight players, and each team is cut in half by what is called “high” and “low points.” Those who play as high points are the offense, while those who play as low points are the defense.

During the game, which lasted around an hour, several students in the audience were offered a chance to try out the sport themselves. The few students who accepted the offer were strapped into the chairs, told the basic rules and sent off to play with the others.

“Recreationally, anybody can do it,” Eddie Crouch, a participant who has competed on both national and Paralympic murderball teams for 27 years, said. “It not only gets you back into physical activity, but you also get the contact that sports brings.”

In order to bring equal attention to other disabilities, SARC hosted many other events such as the “National Blind Sports Day” at the Kummer/Little Recreation Center and a movie night at Downing Student Union.

Features reporter Maxis L. Bryant can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected].