Sunday, August 14, 2005


Featuring fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense, and larger-than-life personalities, MURDERBALL, Winner of the Documentary Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Editing at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is a film about tough, highly competitive rugby players. Quadriplegic rugby players. Whether by car wreck, fist fight, gun shot, or rogue bacteria, these men were forced to live life sitting down. In their own version of the full-contact sport, they smash the hell out of each other in custom-made gladiator-like wheelchairs. And no, they don't wear helmets.

From the gyms of middle America to the Olympic arena in Athens, Greece, MURDERBALL tells the story of a group of world-class athletes unlike any ever shown on screen. In addition to smashing chairs, it will smash every stereotype you ever had about the disabled. It is a film about family, revenge, honor, sex (yes, they can) and the triumph of love over loss. But most of all, it is a film about standing up, even after your spirit - and your spine - has been crushed.

That was the synopsis I read when looking for a good movie to see. I found out about the movie aboot a week ago, and last night Rob and I went to see it. Quadriplegics playing rugby! That's my kind of film. It's the PT in me I guess, I was so riveted. I REALLY wanted to see this movie.

I had heard about wheelchair rugby when I was a PT student doing a rotation At Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, on the Spinal Cord Unit. There was this one kid there, young, quadriplegic, and VERY athletic, and he had been interested in playing. It sounded REALLY cool. I wasn't exactly sure about how the game was played, but I was familiar with the Paralympics and knew that some pretty cool adapted sports were out there for those disabled by spinal cord injuries, amputations, blindness, deafness, and other disabilities. The adaptations were great, there are some amputee runners I've met who say they're faster now with the technology in their prostheses than they were before they lost their leg(s). And there are some really interesting adapted sports. Like Floor Volleyball, like Wheelchair Fencing, and like Wheelchair Rugby. AKA Murderball.

The movie was great. It gave a great perspective of these guys lives, from the beginning of their therapy after their accidents to playing rugby on the US National Team. Rob was amazed at all some of these guys can do, I was and wasn't. Life definitely does NOT stop in a wheelchair, and all the adaptations around to help people are pretty cool. As one of the players put it, "I've done more in a chair than I've done able-bodied." The movie pretty much let you see things from their point of view, literally... which ended up being my only complaint. If you have a tendency for motion sickness, the camera shaking etc. during much of the filming might make you a bit queasy. But I think they did that on purpose. So you can see the game, and life through the eyes of the players.

I HIGHLY reccommend the movie, it was really well done, and very interesting. More info at the movies website, and you can check out the trailer too. ENJOY!

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