Aussie captain finds new life with Wheelchair Rugby

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

When he was left to deal with a growing list of things he couldn’t do, Ryan Scott’s life was turned around by something that he could.

At 16, Scott was in a car accident and faced with the long road to recovery when he discovered Wheelchair Rugby, something that gave him more than just a new pastime.

“I went off to rehab and I saw the local SA team down there, training," he said.

“It was at a time when I probably felt like I lost everything and the focus was so much on things you couldn’t do any more.

“When I was introduced to wheelchair rugby, it gave me a part of my old life.

“I went and watched them (the Australian team) compete in Sydney and they won a silver medal and I wanted to be a part of that.”

The Australian captain Scott has been in the Aussie fold since 2001, playing in three Paralympics and winning a gold medal in London 2012.

While originally a South Australian rep, Scott moved to Brisbane in 2005 and has represented Queensland for most of his career.

Teams play three national competitions a year, with Queensland finishing second to New South Wales in the first of 2016.

Over nearly two decades in the sport, Scott has seen plenty of change but his passion for it has only grown.

While the sport has oft been tied to the moniker “Murderball’ due to its physicality, Scott said people might come for the big hits but stay for the tactical finesses of the sport.

“I’ve seen it change a lot over the years there’s been a few rule changes that have happened over the years, faster more exciting game,” he said.

“There’s a lot of growth outside of the sport itself, with recovery and training programs and everybody’s fitter and faster.”

“I think you don’t ever want to go away from that (physical reputation) because it is a unique, hard hitting sport which draws people in to watch it and they do love it.

“It’s amazing how many people come seen it on TV highlights show and when they get there they always comment on how good it is to watch and how interesting it is to see what we do tactically.”

The ARU has joined together with Disability Sports Australia to help grow Wheelchair Rugby and Scott said it could only be a good thing for the sport.

“To be able to join up with the ARU, with their really public image and what they’ve been able to do, it will help our sport get to the next level. It’s definitely something we’ve needed,” he said.

“It’s definitely going to help us get out there to more people and be able to tap in and hopefully we can help them as well.”