(Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association congratulates Duncan Campbell, the co-creator of wheelchair rugby, on being awarded the most prestigious prize in the Paralympic movement: the International Paralympic Order. The honour, which is bestowed by the International Paralympic Committee, is reserved for those who make an important, life-long contribution to the Paralympic movement.
“It’s a huge honour,” said Campbell, “but the game has given me more than I’ve ever given it.”
Campbell, who is nicknamed the “Quadfather,” invented wheelchair rugby along with four friends in a gym in Winnipeg in 1976. They called their new sport “murderball” because of its high-contact nature. Since its humble Canadian beginnings, “murderball” has evolved into wheelchair rugby: a popular Paralympic sport played in over 30 countries worldwide.
Campbell remains a driving force in promoting and professionalizing the game. He is active in the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation and is also the Director of Development for Wheelchair Rugby Canada, where he spearheads new initiatives to recruit and retain athletes. He is also the National Coordinator of the Bridging the Gap program: a first-contact initiative that gets people with newly acquired disabilities active in wheelchair sports.
“I can’t think of anyone who’s had a bigger impact on wheelchair sports in Canada than Duncan Campbell,” said CWSA Executive Director Cathy Cadieux. “He’s never content to rest on his laurels. He’s always looking for new ways to grow wheelchair rugby, and new ways to get people with disabilities involved in wheelchair sports.”
Campbell’s biggest impact, however, comes from his direct impact on the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities. He is a mentor to many Canadian Paralympians, including wheelchair rugby national team stars Garett Hickling, Ian Chan, and Trevor Hirschfield. The game he created has gone on to improve the lives of thousands of people worldwide.
“It's so much more than a sport,” says Canadian wheelchair rugby national team member Miranda Biletski.” Through this sport, Duncan has helped so many people with new injuries gain independence and confidence in their new lives.”
Campbell’s International Paralympic will be presented on November 23 at the 2013 Paralympic Awards in Athens, Greece.
For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Wheelchair Rugby Canada