Wheelchair Rugby: the gritty game you may not have heard of

It's fast, gritty and full of adrenaline. A group of rugby players in Delhi are defying all fitness dogmas in sport - they play rugby in wheelchairs. (See video)

India has over 200,000 paraplegics living with spinal injuries. Usually, they're confined to a bed - hopeless, invisible, isolated. But not everyone is content to accept that as inevitable.

ESCIP Trust India, set up in 2013, is an organisation that works to support their return to normal, self-sufficient lives.

ESCIP began as a project in 2006, after Jonathan Sigworth, then a 19-year-old American tourist, plunged 70 ft off a cliff on his bicycle in Mussoorie, and was paralysed below his arms.

Realising that paraplegics in India didn't have enough access to occupational therapy, Jonathan and his mother Vicky have returned almost every year to help create resources and networks for their rehabilitation.

Wheelchair rugby, one of the most popular forms of rehabilitation therapy, is now an international competitive sport. And it's slowly gaining ground in India.

For the players in the video, the game heals more than the body: it's a way for them to connect with each other, and even more, a journey back to themselves.

Nikhil Kumar Gupta, captain of the team and an award-winning player, sums it up well: "I live with my brother, his wife and my parents. Earlier they could never leave me on my own. Now they not only leave me alone, they have to plead with me to stay at home."

To know more, head to the ESCIP webpage, or their Youtube channel.

Video shot and edited by Adiba Muzaffar

Adiba Muzaffar

Adiba Muzaffar @adiba_muzaffar