For the first time this year, Wheelchair Rugby Canada funded a Women’s Team to compete in the 2023 Women’s World Cup held in Paris; the event’s third edition. Kasey Aiello was one of the ten females selected to represent Canada! The team brought home a bronze medal and after the game Kasey earned the “brought the force” award selected by Team Canada. But how did she get into the sport, and what does it mean to her? We caught up with Kasey to find out more about her journey.
“I believe I was introduced to wheelchair rugby at a bridging the gap try it or camp back in 2011 or 2012, but I chose to pursue Handcycling instead,” Aiello recalls. It wasn’t until 2017 that she officially started playing rugby.
When asked about her pregame rituals, Aiello shares that she doesn’t have a specific one. However, she does mention that she talks a lot and chews gum to combat her nervous dry mouth. As for music, she enjoys any genre, “except Kurt’s playlists.”
In preparation for the Women’s World Cup, Aiello attended club practices and worked with her trainer doing strength workouts 2-3 days per week. She also did daily mobility stretches on the ground.
Kasey’s experience at the Women’s World Cup was made unforgettable by the opportunity to play with and get to know her fellow Canadian girls, whom she typically competes against. Training and competing alongside her female teammates offered fresh insights into different communication styles, recognition of game play, supportiveness and overall organization as a cohesive unit.
“Playing in the Women’s World Cup meant the absolute world to me and has definitely been the highlight of my rugby career so far. It was such an incredibly powerful experience and I look forward to attending more female camps in Canada and playing in tournaments to build on our amazing team chemistry.”
As a woman playing in a male-dominated sport, Kasey understands how intimidating it can be. However, she encourages other women to get involved, saying that there are more women involved in the sport now than ever before. “The wheelchair rugby community is truly beautiful, and I’m so happy to have finally found my tribe.”
Make sure to mark your calendars for May 5-7, as Kasey Aiello will be competing at the 2023 Canadian Wheelchair Rugby National Championships. The event will be streaming live on Wheelchair Rugby Canada’s YouTube channel.