The Great Lakes Storm, Michigan's only wheelchair rugby team, was originally formed in the late 80's by a few athletes that decided a wheelchair was not going to stop them from pursuing their passions. The original team was named the "Detroit PowerPlay" and later became the "MPVA Patriots". Now, almost 15 years later, Michigan rugby continues to thrive as the Great Lakes State takes the rugby world by STORM!! With one of the original "PowerPlay" players still on board, the STORM have set out to become one of the fastest growing teams in the USQRA and a contending force in the Heartland North Region.

The Great Lakes Storm practices every Sunday afternoon at either the Community Center in Bay City. Times and dates may vary, contact Jeff for details: 989-497-3075.

We're currently seeking new players for the 2003-2004 rugby season. During the off-season most Storm players train at the new Michigan Sports Unlimited Sports Complex. Strength and endurance training are critically important parts of most wheelchair sports, so you should start training now! If you want to learn more about rugby, scroll down this page or visit the website home of Wheelchair Rugby.
 
A BRIEF HISTORY of the game
Wheelchair rugby is a sport with roots going back to wheelchair basketball and ice hockey, which is not surprising, since it was developed by three Canadians from Winnipeg, Manitoba as a quadriplegic equivalent to wheelchair basketball. The sport was originally called murderball due to the aggressive nature of the game. It was introduced in the United States in 1981 by Brad Mikkelsen, who with the aid of the University of North Dakota's Disabled Student Service's, formed the first team, the Wallbangers, and changed the game's name from murderball to wheelchair rugby.

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. Since its introduction, Wheelchair Rugby has grown to become a truly international sport, with teams now competing from around the globe. There are now more than forty-five organized teams in the United States with many others in the developmental stage. In addition to the teams in the US, there is estimated to be at least twenty international teams from as far away as Australia in addition to those in Canada. Without question, quad rugby is the fastest growing wheelchair sport in the world today.

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 male and females are encouraged to play, and because of the classification process gender advantages don't exist.

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. The action occurs on a regulation-sized basketball court with some minor changes.

A goal line at each end of the court measures eight meters.
Court layout
A key area extends from the goal line and is 1.75 meters deep.

During the games team players pass a volleyball back and forth while advancing into the opponent's half court and then crossing over the goal line with the ball in one player's possession. While the offense is trying to advance the ball, the defense is trying to take it away and keep the opposing team from scoring. Certain restrictions apply in the key area. One restriction is that only three defensive players are allowed in the key, and if a fourth enters, a penalty can be assessed or a goal awarded. Another restriction is that an offensive player can only stay in the key area for ten seconds. Otherwise a turnover will be assessed.

BASIC RULES
  1. A player has 15 seconds to advance the ball into the opponents half-court.
  2. Fouls are assessed and penalties can include awarding of a goal, a timed penalty or a turnover.
  3. A player with the ball has unrestricted pushes but must pass or dribble the ball every 10 seconds or a turnover is awarded.
Official Rules Rugby Resources
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