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Hall of Famers

Hall of Famer

Duncan Campbell

Inducted in 2020-21

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 24, 1956
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sport: Wheelchair Rugby
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

2004
The Canadian Wheelchair Rugby National Championship trophy was renamed the Campbell Cup in his honour
 
2005
Inducted as a Builder into the Canadian Paralympic Committee Hall of Fame
2013
Received the International Paralympic Order
2015
Inducted as a Pioneer into the BC Sports Hall of Fame
2017
The four “Founding Fathers” of Wheelchair Rugby, including Duncan Campbell, inducted into the Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Hall of Fame
2018
Inducted as the first member of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Hall of Fame
Hall of Famer Duncan Campbell
Inspire

Story

 Duncan Campbell’s inspiring story proves that innovation is often the key to overcoming adversity. Growing up in Winnipeg, Duncan enjoyed an active childhood until a diving accident left him a quadriplegic at the age of 17. Even though doctors claimed he would never live or work independently again, Duncan remained determined to pursue an active lifestyle and began working out alongside other people with physical disabilities at a local gym.  One day in 1976, while waiting for a volunteer assigned to help them lift weights, the group started tossing a volleyball around and crashing their wheelchairs into each other. They created a game and thrilled by their new game’s exuberant, competitive energy, they decided to call it Murderball - the first version of the fast-paced, highly athletic contact sport now known around the world as wheelchair rugby.

For over 35 years, Duncan played the game and worked to help make wheelchair rugby one of the most popular and iconic para sports in the world. Wheelchair rugby debuted as a demonstration sport at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, and in 2000 achieved full medal status, with Duncan serving as the High Performance Manager for Team Canada.  Today wheelchair rugby draws Paralympic teams from over 30 nations, and Canada has helped take the sport to new heights, winning Gold at the 2002 World Championships and claiming Silver at the 2004 and 2012 Paralympic Games in Athens and London, respectively. Duncan continues to serve on the development committee of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation, and served as the National Development Director for the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association.  In 2004, the Canadian Wheelchair Rugby National Championship trophy was renamed the Campbell Cup in his honour, and in 2013 he was awarded the International Paralympic Order, the most prestigious award in para sports.

Duncan Campbell’s legacy as a sport innovator is matched by his equally outstanding commitment to mentorship and building community at the grassroots level. In 1976, he and a small group of friends, developed the basic rules, regulations and chair design that form the basis of this high impact, hugely popular Paralympic team sport. After graduating with degrees in Psychology from the University of Manitoba and Recreation Administration from the University of Alberta, he began working as a recreation therapist for the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. With his trademark sense of humour and genuine ability to connect to people from all walks of life, Duncan has empowered countless young people to develop self-confidence and challenge limitations through wheelchair sports. Affectionately nicknamed “The Quadfather,” he continues to play wheelchair rugby recreationally while serving as Director of Development for Wheelchair Rugby Canada, helping more people with physical disabilities get involved in wheelchair sports. Changing lives and challenging established perceptions of people with physical disabilities, wheelchair rugby is the only Paralympic discipline ever to be named a Canadian Heritage Sport, an innovation that has placed the nation at the forefront of the international para sport movement.