Wheelchair Rugby Looking to Form Buffalo Team

November 29, 2013 Updated Nov 29, 2013 at 12:37 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

November 29, 2013 Updated Nov 29, 2013 at 12:37 PM EDT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WKBW) " I crave the hitting," said Craig Mills, an experienced player for the WNY WRECKERS wheelchair rugby team during a recent practice.

There is plenty of full-contact in a sport that is growing in popularity worldwide and is included in the Paralympic Games.

Started in the late 1970's, wheelchair rugby, or quad rugby as it is also referred to, is a combination of several sports like basketball, rugby, and football.

"For a group of individuals who don't get much exercise, this is an excellent work out," adds Chris Hilderbrant, co-founder of the WNY WRECKERS.

The rules are simple; move a ball from one end of the court to the other using passing, bouncing, and team cooperation.

However, the opposing team can use its wheelchairs to crash and block the ball carrier.

"It is part demolition derby and part 'Kill the man with the ball,'" laughs Hilderbrant.

Volunteers help retrieve out-of-bounds balls and pick up the occasional player who is knocked out of a wheelchair.

While the sport can result in some bumps, players quickly develop a passion for it.

"We might be paralyzed but we aren't giving up," adds Shane O'Brien, a quadriplegic player from Warsaw.

The WNY Wreckers organized a few months ago.

They have now grown to include 12 players, mostly from the Rochester area, and the team is hoping to find new participants from Buffalo.

"We would ideally like to have east and west units," says Hilderbrant.

Interested players can contact the WNY WRECKERS through its facebook page and by email:



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