Murderball: The Paralympics' most dangerous sport begins today

Eight teams are hoping to win Paralympic gold in wheelchair rugby this weekend

Murderball: The Paralympics' most dangerous sport begins today

Great Britain's Aaron Phipps is challenged by France's Eric Meurisse during the 2012 Paralympics. Picture by: Chris Radburn / PA Archive/Press Association Images

It's commonly known by the name of a 2005 documentary based on the sport, but 'Murderball' has become synonymous with wheelchair rugby.

Eight teams begin their quest on Wednesday looking to win gold, with World Champions Australia looking to defend their title that they won in London four-years ago. The United States are the most dominant team in the history of the Games with three wins from the previous five tournaments.

While the popularity of the sport increased after London 2012, it is set to increase even more in the coming days. 

All eight teams have 12-person squads with only four allowed on the court at the same time. A standard wheelchair rugby court is the same as what would be used in basketball.

The object of the game is to score goals with a goal being scored when players cross a section of the goal-line while holding the ball. Players have around ten metres of a 15-metre goal-line to score in.

To play in wheelchair rugby, players must be effected in either their upper or lower limbs. All players are rated between 0.5 and 3.5 for function levels. The team cannot be over 8.0 points at any time on court.

Each match lasts 32 minutes, split into four-quarters. Three minutes of extra-time can also be used if needed to separate the teams.

Over the next five days, it will be easy to see why the sport is one of the toughest and most dangerous at the Paralympic Games.