With the history of the sport still being written, the United States has begun its own chapter in the sport.
Wheelchair Rugby League is currently an emerging sport. Only a handful of nations play the game with France, England, and Australia having fully established domestic competitions. Wheelchair Rugby League was developed by Frenchmen Wally Salvan and Robert Fassolette in 2000, originally as a form of rehabilitation. As it began to grow as a sport, the French toured Australia in 2004 and introduced the game to England in 2005.
Acknowledged as a fast and exciting spectator sport, the Wheelchair Rugby League Association in the UK expanded the game despite the competition from already established team sports such as wheelchair basketball and murderball or Quad rugby. The catalyst for the sports’ recent increase in popularity was the successful 2008 Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup, organized by the New South Wales Rugby League. This has led to an increase in participation not only in the UK but in other nations as well. Wheelchair Rugby League is unique amongst wheelchair sports in its faithfulness to the rules of its sport of origin, rugby league. It is also extremely inclusive as it can be played by teams of mixed sexes, mixed-age groups, and both able-bodied people and those with a range of disabilities.
The game was first introduced in the United States in 2019 by Carolina League Academy during the Carolina9s Festival. The first-ever matches were played with participants from all over the region with mixed-ability, sexes, and ages. USARL Wheelchair Hawks competed in its first Rugby League World Cup in the RLWC 2021 (2022 Covid Postponed) in the UK. The domestic competition for our sport was established in 2022, USA Wheelchair Rugby League.
Juan Jasso has recently been appointed Director of Wheelchair & Rugby League Development. He is a Texas native and US Army veteran. He has an interesting rugby league background, having spent 20 years living in the UK. He is a qualified match official, RFL Level II coach, and currently completing his RFL Level 3 high-performance coaching award.
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