2023.0705 Steve Kearley

Meet Steve Kearley: USA Wheelchair Rugby Low Point Team Head Coach

Sportable is preparing to host the region’s first-ever River City Rumble Wheelchair Rugby Tournament, July 14-16. The tournament will begin after a Low Point Wheelchair Rugby Clinic led by Steve Kearley, Head Coach of the USA Wheelchair Rugby Low Point Team.

Kearley experienced a spinal cord injury after a car accident his senior year of high school in 1988. He still wanted to remain active, and eventually ended up founding the TIRR Texans in 1990, the only Houston US Quad Open Rugby Association team. This team ended up finishing as #7 in 2021 out of over 50 teams nationwide.

Kearley has racked up a total of 31 years of playing wheelchair rugby, and 10 years of coaching and is a two-time medalist with USAWR. Off the court, Kearley works for 180 Medical as a patient advocate to help others with similar experiences.

“As much as I’ve learned on court, I’ve learned even more about living life to the fullest off court, there’s no doubt about that,” Kearley said. “They go hand-in-hand.”

“I think there’s a misconception out there that, ‘oh man, these poor guys and girls, they’re in wheelchairs so they must be very fragile,’ and the reality is, we are adaptive sports athletes. We aren’t fragile like that: we compete [and] we have emotions just like any other athletes,” said Kearley in an interview with Project Kix.

Kearley told Sportable that he looks forward to leading the wheelchair rugby clinic in Richmond, as well as continuing his role as head coach for the TIRR Texans, and what might be his last year as a player.

“I’m super pumped about the clinic and working with all of the players that are trying to improve their wheelchair rugby game – and of course the tournament, that’s the icing on the cake,” Kearley said.

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