Imagine you’ve been paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair. You can’t walk but can use your arms to a degree. What do you do? Do you give up all hope and sulk around all day, or do you see what new doors have opened up for you?
Well for a surprising amount of paraplegics the decision was simple, see what’s out there. Some start simple, others dive straight into the exciting world of Murderball aka quad rugby. With modified wheelchairs that look closer to battle tanks, these players zip across the court running into each other trying to get the ball across the opponent’s goal.
In “Murderball” you closely follow some of the lives of the U.S. quad rugby team. At first I thought this would be slow and boring watching everyday lives of a wheelchair-bound person. The opening scene is watching one of the athletes, Zupan, change into gym shorts. But after this part, the rest of the movie is a fast paced, constantly changing documentary. You are moved from one player to the next, then to another before going back to the first player. And the best thing, these athletes are completely normal human beings, besides be paraplegic. At one point Zupan, the U.S. team spokesman says that he’s not scared to get in a fight and that people won’t him because he’s in a chair, “go ahead and hit me, I’ll hit you right back.” These players don’t milk it, they have spunk and aren’t afraid of anything or anyone.
Quad rugby requires the player to be tough. They get flipped over, run into, double teamed, and a whole other assortment of bone-jarring crashes. Training to play this sport requires dedication and a honed set of handling skills. You are taken through a training session at the Olympic center and you are shown that these paraplegic athletes work just as hard, if not harder, than their walking counterparts.
“Murderball” is a movie that will leave you satisfied. It immerses you into a world of a sport that not many people have knowledge of. It puts you into the mind of the athletes, how they deal with life and the sport itself. There’s action, drama, heartbreak, and upset. By the end you will have learned much about the paraplegic community and will have a new view of the athletes that play murderball.