Team USA Wheelchair Rugby Reclaims Gold

James SenbetaCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2008

With the starting lineup of Bryan Kirkland (2.0), Nick Springer (2.0), Will Groulx (2.0), and Andy Cohn (2.0) playing most of the game, Team USA won Gold over Australia 53-44. Mark Zupan and Scott Hogsett did not log any minutes in the final matchup of the two undefeated teams.

The win was not easy for the Americans as they had to spend time double-teaming the world’s best wheelchair rugby player in Ryley Batt (3.5). Batt, the 19-year-old sensation, led all scores with 23 goals and 12 assist, and could only seem to be stopped by himself at times.

Canada defeated Great Britain 47-41 in the Bronze Medal matchup.

Wheelchair Rugby began in Canada during the 1970s under the name Murderball, due to the collisions that occur in the sport. The sport first arrived in the Paralympics in 1996 as a test sport and achieved greater fame with the documentary Murderball in 2005.

Wheelchair rugby has been compared to the combination of basketball and ice hockey, but also can resemble football without the play to play stoppage and soccer. The ball used in the sport is basically a volleyball.

Players are classified from 0.5 to 3.5 dealing with their severity of quadriplegia or of their hand impairment. The maximum amount of class points allowed on the court at any one time is eight between the four players.

Final Game | Stat Sheet