One of the Nation's Top Wheelchair Rugby Squads is Here in Phoenix
Not long ago, wheelchair rugby was known as "murderball," which terrified newbies. The name has changed, but the sport's intensity remains high: chairs slam, men shout, and biceps bulge as the players wheel themselves across the court. The Phoenix Heat is the top-rated rugby team in the United States, and its players are world-class athletes from across the country. The team practices at Ability360, a wheelchair-oriented sports facility near Papago Park. Several members were featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary Murderball, and when games are played, the bleachers routinely fill up with fans and supporters of all stripes. On April 20, Ability360 will host the Wheelchair Rugby National Championships, and Phoenix players hope to win back their championship title from the Texas Stampede. We caught up with the players during a recent practice, along with their peppy manger, Katie Ritter.