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Wheelchair Rugby

The Pittsburgh Steelwheelers Wheelchair Rugby Team consists of individuals spanning a wide variety of ages and abilities. We are always looking to bring in new members who are looking for a way to stay healthy and active despite having a disability. The Steelwheelers can help get you started! Please use the Contact page to reach out to us and let us know you're interested!

Chair Offensive.jpg

Offensive Chair

Chair Defensive.jpg

Defensive Chair


Wheelchair Rugby (formerly referred to as Quad Rugby), is a sport with roots going back to wheelchair basketball and ice sled hockey, which is not surprising, since it was developed by three Canadians as the quadriplegic equivalent to wheelchair basketball. The sport was originally called Murderball due to its aggressive nature, but was changed to Quad Rugby in 1981 when it was introduced in the U.S. with the formation of the "Wallbangers" at the University of North Dakota.

In 1988, the United States Quad Rugby Association (USQRA) was formed to help regulate and promote the sport on both a national and international level.  Quad Rugby has grown to become a global sport with more than forty-five organized teams in the United States and at least twenty five international teams from as far away as Australia, in addition to those in Canada.


Who Can Play?

Players may have various disabilities that preclude their play in able-bodied sport competition. Players must have a combination of upper and lower extremity impairment to be considered as eligible to participate. Most of the players have sustained cervical level spinal injuries and have some type of quadriplegia as a result. Players are given a classification number from one of seven classifications ranging from 0.5 - 3.5. The 0.5 player has the greatest impairment and is comparable to a C5 quadriplegic. Of those eligible to participate, the 3.5 player has the least impairment and is similar to a C7-8 incomplete quadriplegic. Both males and females are encouraged to play, and because of the classification process gender advantages don't exist. Female players and those over 45 are given a .5 point reduction, and those over 65 are given an additional .5 point reduction.

The Game

Four players from each team are allowed on the court at a time. Classifications of the four players on the court must total no more than 8.0 points at one time.  A goal line at each end of the court measures eight meters.   A key area extends from the goal line and is 1.75 meters deep. During the games, team players pass or carry a volleyball, trying to advance it into the opponent's half court and then cross over the goal line with the ball in one player's possession. Only three defensive players are allowed in the "key", and if a fourth enters, a penalty can be assessed or a goal awarded. An offensive player can only stay in the key area for ten seconds or a turnover will be assessed.

Basic Rules

  1. Games are played in (4) 8-minute quarters with 2 min. breaks between quarters and a 5 min. halftime.

  2. There are (4) 30 sec. and (2) 60 sec. timeouts for each team, plus 1 extra for each overtime played.

  3. One point is scored when the goal line is crossed by any two of the ballcarrier’s wheels.

  4. 10 Seconds:  Players must dribble or pass or it’s a turnover.

  5. 12 Seconds:  Ball must be advanced over half court or it’s a turnover.

  6. 10 Seconds:  Ball must be inbounded or it’s a turnover.

  7. 40 Seconds:  Teams must score after the ball is inbounded or it’s a turnover.

  8. 10 Seconds: Offensive player cannot be in the key longer or it’s a turnover.

  9. Only three defenders are allowed in the key at one time or it’s a penalty.

  10. Hitting an opposing player’s chair behind the axles (a spin) is a turnover or a penalty

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