It’s hard to imagine a more inclusive sport than wheelchair rugby league – and you really have to watch it to understand just how compelling and committed it is.
It’s unique and inspiring to see players with disabilities competing as equals with those who are able-bodied, in mixed-sex teams.
The environment is so welcoming that transgender players and coaches like Leeds Rhinos’ Vez Smith say they feel truly included too.
The sport abounds with moving personal stories from individual players, such as Jack and Harry Brown of Halifax RLFC. Jack is able-bodied; his brother Harry lost both legs to meningitis. In wheelchair rugby league, they become team-mates.
馃槼 Jack Brown – that is sensational! 馃摵 Watch on #OURLEAGUE 馃憠 https://t.co/oWjW2xfp81馃摬 Join the conversation on @Twitch 馃憠 https://t.co/LzFTGYLMcS pic.twitter.com/pJI76rjNZt
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) September 21, 2019
Saturday’s Grand Final at Gillingham was a brilliant and memorable match between Leeds and Halifax, with the latter running out 50-42 winners.
The 2019 Wheelchair Rugby Grand Final Winners 鈿笍馃數 Halifax RLFC 鈿笍馃數#UTF pic.twitter.com/hLZ9Ea4SeS
— Halifax RLFC (@Halifax_RLFC) September 21, 2019
The skill and commitment of the players is unquestionable, and the hits so fierce that players are frequently upended and thrown out of their chairs.
It’s eye-opening for someone who has never seen it before. The fact that both teams travelled all the way from Yorkshire to Kent to compete so ferociously in such a wheelchair-friendly and inclusive venue as the Medway Sports Park was also impressive.