Murderball back in action in Preston

Joanna Williams

Wheelchairs will clash as murderball returns to WKU tonight.

Murderball is a game similar to rugby that’s played by quadriplegic athletes, said Matthew Davis, coordinator for Student Disability Services.

WKU will host a game of murderball tonight at 6 p.m. in the Preston Center, when a quadriplegic rugby team made up of members from Kentucky and Tennessee will be in town, he said.

At the game, the quadriplegic team will compete against members of WKU’s intramural rugby teams, who will be playing in wheelchairs, Davis said.

Then, the intramural members will add members of the quadriplegic team to their side and vice versa, in order to create two balanced teams of quadriplegics and able-bodied members, Davis said.

The intramural teams gain a greater appreciation of the sport after playing it themselves, he said.

This is the team’s fourth year playing murderball at WKU, Davis said. The event has been steadily growing in popularity each year.

“Every year I get questions from students, ‘When are we going to do the murderball?'” he said.

Honolulu resident Ernie Chun, who is a member of the quadriplegic team, said he thinks everyone on the team has benefited from being a part of it in some way.

“It helps them develop a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “We also travel a lot so you learn to live on your own and take care of yourself.”

Bowling Green resident Travis Smith has been competing in wheelchair rugby for more than 14 years and said the experiences he’s gotten from it have been invaluable.

“I think the biggest thing is the camaraderie from the other players,” he said. “You get to travel and make friendships. You get to see how people do things from transfers to driving a vehicle. You learn from seeing.”

Smith said he enjoys being able to see the intramural team experience another side of the sport.

“It’s good to go out and show able-bodies how tough our sport is,” he said. “When you get in the chair, you gain an entirely new perspective.”