Tackling Murderball: masculinity, disability and the big screen

Document Type


Publication details

Gard, M & Fitzgerald, H, 'Tackling Murderball: masculinity, disability and the big screen', Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 126-141.

The publisher's version of this article is available at:


Peer Reviewed



The sport of wheelchair rugby is the subject of a recent film Murderball, which tells the story of the apparently intense rivalry between the Canadian and United States men's teams. In part, the story is told through the lives of some of the game's leading players and coaches. Murderball deals with a series of ethical and political questions concerned with conceptions of disability, articulations of sporting bodies, and the value attached to sporting performance. In this paper we offer a critique of Murderball and explore a number of themes including: (1) What can disabled bodies do?; (2) This is not the Special Olympics; and (3) 'Hot' and disabled. We conclude that these themes offer us new intellectual challenges for thinking about the physical education experiences of young disabled people and progression in disability sport. Indeed, we argue that Murderball moves disability issues into new intellectual terrain, thus increasing the ways in which people who work with young people and sport might need to take account of disability.