Jessica Kruger: What Wheelchair Rugby Means to Me

We're pleased to welcome Jessica Kruger to the 2012 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament Communications team. Not only is Jessica a student at Simon Fraser University specializing in writing and English, but she's also a wheelchair rugby player. Today, Jessica tells us about what wheelchair rugby means to her and what impact it's made on her life. Welcome, Jessica!

What Wheelchair Rugby Means to Me

“So, let me get this straight, It’s encouraged to smash into the other teams players? Even if that means sending them (along with their rugby wheelchairs) flying backwards through the air and eventually thudding to the very unforgiving, solid, gym floor? Sounds like fun!”

- Jessica Kruger

Wheelchair rugby has proven to be a lot of things for me—at first it was a challenge, a way to prove to myself that my injury would not stop me from living my life. I played sports before my accident, and I was determined to play them again.  If there was one thing you need to know about me, it would probably be that I am stubborn to no end. If this world is going to try and take away my independence, athleticism, and ability to walk, fine—but I am not going to sit by [no pun intended haha] idly and let it happen.

Rugby was my way of saying, “Screw you” to the world. Why can’t I be the youngest girl on team BC to play wheelchair rugby? Why can’t I enjoy the smashing sound of metal colliding with metal? Why can’t I bathe in the look of horror mingled with admiration that I get when I tell people that I play wheelchair rugby (also known as Murderball)?  The simple answer? I can. With time, rugby has grown to be so much more than just a challenge—it has become my passion.  It is the one and only activity that I wake up with a genuine smile on my face for, and the only place that other amazing and talented athletes surround me.

Having the opportunity to train with national team athletes like Ian Chan, Travis Murao, Trevor Hirschfield and Fabien Lavoie has been a great opportunity; my goal now is to one day smash the competition with them at my side.