UH Adaptive Athletics to Host Women’s Wheelchair Rugby Camp and Tournament

Athletes with disabilities will train and compete in Houston as they prepare for prestigious international competition

As part of its ongoing commitment to create athletic opportunities for individuals with disabilities, University of Houston Adaptive Athletics is proud to host the 2018 Halliburton Charitable Foundation Women’s Wheelchair Rugby Camp. The camp will take place July 26 to July 29 at the University of Houston Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and will feature athletes from around the United States showcasing their skills in this fast-growing sport. The camp is a precursor to the Women’s Cup, an international wheelchair rugby championship last held in Paris, December of 2017. The camp will bring together female quadriplegic rugby players for four days of cutting-edge athletic training and intensely competitive tournament play.

Wheelchair rugby is a full-contact, chair-crashing sport played by quadriplegics on a basketball court. Nicknamed “Murderball” due to the no-holds-barred physicality of play, the sport is co-ed; but, the intention of the camp is to create more opportunity for female participation. The program aims to provide all players with positive, enriching experiences both on and off the court.

“This camp is unique because year round, these women play on men’s teams. This is the one event where women can train with other women,” said Dr. Michael Cottingham, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. “The camp will give players a chance to learn rugby from the best minds in the game, to grow as athletes, and to connect with other female wheelchair rugby players.”

The camp’s head coach will be Emily Shryock, one of the most accomplished female athletes in the history of U.S. wheelchair rugby. As a former member of the national developmental men’s team, she has had numerous tryouts for the US Men’s National Team, competing from Russia to Europe.

“This camp provides an empowering and supportive environment for women to grow and develop their skills in wheelchair rugby,” Shryock said. “Most women don’t have other women on their home teams, so this is their only opportunity to train with other women. This camp is a chance for women around the country to connect with other female athletes.”

The 2018 Halliburton Charitable Foundation Women’s Wheelchair Rugby Camp is made possible through the generous support of the Halliburton Charitable Foundation and other contributing sponsors. “We are proud to play a part in helping these young women achieve their athletic goals,” said Susanna Sabbagh, president of the Halliburton Charitable Foundation. “Participation in organized sports promotes physical health, sharpens problem-solving skills, and brings people together. These benefits should be available to all, regardless of gender or disability.”

University of Houston Adaptive Athletics is a student-run organization and research lab housed in the Department of Health and Human Performance. Under the umbrella of the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), it hosts adaptive sporting events year-round and conducts innovative, engaging research used by academics and practitioners worldwide.

“University of Houston Adaptive Athletics does incredible work in making a variety of sports accessible to all,” said Dr. Antonio D. Tillis, dean of CLASS. “It will be a thrill to watch these gifted athletes perform in person, and their presence on campus will undoubtedly motivate students, faculty, and staff to strive for inclusivity in all they do.”

What: 2018 Halliburton Charitable Foundation Women’s Wheelchair Rugby Camp
When: Thursday, July 26 to Sunday, July 29
Where: University of Houston Campus Recreation and Wellness Center
4500 University Drive, Houston, TX 77004
Who: Free and open to the public.