Sarah Adam becomes first woman named to U.S. Paralympic wheelchair rugby team

The 12-player U.S. wheelchair rugby roster for the Paris Paralympics includes Sarah Adam, who became the first woman to be named to a U.S. wheelchair rugby team in Paralympic history.

The team is led by Chuck Aoki, who will become the first four-time U.S. Paralympian in the sport. Aoki was on the bronze-medal team in London in 2012 and silver-medal teams in Rio and Tokyo.

The U.S. made the podium in every Paralympic wheelchair rugby tournament dating to the sport's debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Its last gold came in Beijing in 2008.

Six players return from Tokyo, while the other half of the roster is made up of Paralympic rookies.

The first-timers include Adam, an assistant professor at St. Louis University. She began playing wheelchair rugby in 2019 and was on the team that won silver at the most recent world championship in 2022.

Wheelchair rugby is co-ed, but overwhelmingly male.

At the Tokyo Games, four of the 96 wheelchair rugby athletes across all teams were women. Three women have won Paralympic wheelchair rugby medals — Brit Kylie Grimes in Tokyo (gold), Japan’s Kurahashi Kae in Tokyo (bronze) and Canadian Erika Schmutz in 2008 (bronze).

Great Britain is the reigning Paralympic gold medalist. Australia is the reigning world champion. The Paris Games open Aug. 28.

2024 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Roster

  • Sarah Adam, Naperville, IL/St. Louis, MO

  • Chuck Aoki (Co-Captain), Minneapolis, MN/Ann Arbor, MI

  • Clayton Brackett, Birmingham, AL

  • Jeff Butler, Fort Wayne, IN/San Francisco, CA

  • Lee Fredette, East Moriches, NY/Tucson, AZ

  • Brad Hudspeth, Stilwell, KS

  • Chuck Melton, Richview, IL

  • Eric Newby (Co-Captain), Godfrey, IL

  • Josh O’Neill, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Zion Redington, Birmingham, AL

  • Mason Symons, Hershey, PA

  • Josh Wheeler, Tucson, AZ

Sarah Adam
Sarah Adam

Sarah Adam bids to be first woman on U.S. Paralympic wheelchair rugby team

Sarah Adam went from volunteering in wheelchair rugby to playing at the world championship.