Adaptive Rugby with UVA and the Virginia Commonwealth Games

Published: Apr. 10, 2022 at 8:25 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia’s Club Rugby Team partnered with the Virginia Commonwealth Games to host a day of adaptive rugby - a non contact version of the sport. Long distance throwing, kicking, and target practice are just a few of the events that athletes competed in at Madison Bowl Field.

“I’ve been looking forward to this since our clinic in the fall. This is a new program for adaptive rec,” participant Michael Fowler said.

Athletes are on the field learning a new sport from the pros.

“This is the Virginia Commonwealth Games first event of 2022. It’s our first adaptive event as well. So we have adaptive rugby and we are partnering with a group that’s been running adaptive rugby out here on the weekends,” said Amanda Mangum with the Virginia Commonwealth Games.

Alexis Ward is the founder and a member of the UVA Women’s Club Rugby Team.

“Adaptive rugby is basically a noncontact version of the sport that we’ve adapted for people with disabilities. So basically, anyone can come out and play and how we do it is like, inclusion based. So we kind of filter our girls and guys, from the UVA teams in with the athletes,” Ward said.

The athletes are playing to win.

“We’re all hoping to go for gold,” Fowler said.

They also want to have some fun while they’re at it

“We’re out here to enjoy, have fun, be with our friends, be with UVA students and it’s like a one day tournament where people can get either gold, silver or bronze,” Fowler said.

The club teams coach weekly practices for participants.

“Every Friday night, a bunch of these athletes come out, and they play with our men and women’s Virginia Rugby Club Teams. They come out and they’re pretty familiar with the sport now after having a few practices under their belt,” Ward said.

The competition adds a new element to their normal practices.

“Growing up I would do these and it just makes it feel really legit. Something a little bit different than your casual games or practices that they usually go to,” Ward said.

The Virginia commonwealth games hosts events like these all year long and the event was co sponsored in part by MPower Me.

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