Cowichan Wheels is a Cowichan Valley organization dedicated to raising awareness of accessibility issues. They support locals through school bursaries, community projects, such as the Cowichan Aquatic Centre’s pool lift, and sport sponsorships. The Cowichan Foundation is a strong supporter of the Cowichan Wheels organization.
Wheelchair rugby, (known as quad rugby in the United States), is a team sport for athletes with a disability. It is currently practiced in over twenty countries around the world and is a Paralympic sport. Developed in Canada in 1977, the sport’s original name was murderball. The United States name of quad rugby is based on the fact that all wheelchair rugby players need to have disabilities that include at least some loss of function in at least three limbs – most are medically classified as a quadriplegic.
The rules include elements of wheelchair basketball, ice hockey, handball, and rugby union. It is a contact sport and physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game. It has little in common with Rugby football except for the name.
On the second Sunday in June, in the Cowichan Valley the tournament happens. Teams of 3 or more people (one must be female) play short games of wheelchair rugby. Players have their hands covered and taped. Rugby wheelchairs are provided by the organization.
A team is not allowed to have more than three players on the court at any one time. A player with possession of the ball must bounce or pass the ball to other members of his/her team. Physical contact between wheelchairs is permitted and forms a major part of the game. The winners then move up on to the next level of tournament play.