U.S. Wheelchair Rugby’s Delagrave shares motivational message at Sportable

U.S. Wheelchair Rugby’s Delagrave shares motivational message at Sportable

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Rugby is Sportable’s newest adaptive sport. The organization introduced it in January, and this weekend will hold a clinic to familiarize people with the how wheelchair rugby works and let them try out some of the chairs.

That’s where Joe Delagrave comes in. He’s the co-captain of the U.S. Wheelchair Rugby national team, a title he’s held for six of his eleven seasons with the squad. He received a bronze medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and is in town to help with the clinic.

Delagrave is also a motivational speaker. He was paralyzed in a boating accident in 2004, and now speaks about overcoming obstacles and how people with disabilities can capitalize on the opportunities around them. He shared his story at Sportable’s headquarters in Richmond on Friday. If there’s one thing Delagrave hopes people took away from his experiences, it’s that everybody has an opportunity and a choice everyday.

“A lot of times we want to take the easy way out and ‘you know what, I’m going to play a victim card,’” Delagrave said. “I think a lot of times people play that victim card, and I think sometimes it’s lazy, it’s easy, but if you play that victor card, you play that card that says 'you know what, I have an opportunity, no matter what circumstances I have, to make a difference.”

After his accident, Delagrave endured a long road to recovery. As one can imagine, it was far from easy.

“I think it just takes a certain mindset and something I struggled with for a little while- it takes a little bit of time, not only to get over it physically, but mentally to get over that hurdle to say ‘OK, I can live this life. I’m going to be in a wheelchair, it’s going to look a little different, but life’s worth living.’”

Delagrave played football in college and loves sports with contact. He says he found rugby when looking for sports after his injury and found rugby. Now he’s a 13-year veteran of the sport and it’s taken him all over the world.

Sportable’s wheelchair rugby clinic is Saturday and Sunday at J.R. Tucker High School.

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