Murderball is a game played in wheelchairs designed for quadriplegics and mayhem. It’s a full-contact, furious-paced game played by a warrior class of athletes. Study the wheelchairs and study the game, officially known as Quad Rugby, and you find ergonomics on the team.
The game arrived in the United States from Canada in 1981. The name was officially changed to Quad Rugby, but not without opposition: many players and spectators think Murderball better describes the action. The United States Quad Rugby Association (USQRA), one of many Quad Rugby leagues around the world, was established in 1988 and now boasts membership of more than 40 teams. It made its Olympics debut at the Paralympics after the Summer Games in Atlanta in 1996, then was elevated to a full medal sport at the 2000 Olympics in Syndey.
Anyone looking for ergonomics in action can also see it in the design of the game, which is shaped around the needs of a special class of people – quadriplegics with varying loss of function in all limbs. Two teams of four players compete on a wooden floor the size of a basketball court. The aim is to carry a ball resembling a volleyball across an opponent’s end line to score a point. Physical contact between players is outlawed, but blocking and contact between chairs is legal