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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Quadriplegics & "Murderball"
Aired August 3, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they're handsome, sexy, world-class athletes, and they're quadriplegics in wheelchairs. Inspiring stories of beating incredible odds with the wheelchair rugby stars of "Murderball." And they'll take your calls.
It's an hour you're not going to forget. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Don't be nervous, guys. We've got quite an hour ahead.
And by the way, if you wonder why the shirt is unbuttoned, we have no air-conditioning here in the building at CNN West in Los Angeles. This is a bath bowl, and you are watching -- you're watching six people continually lose weight without Atkins or anything right before your eyes.
Anyway, our subject tonight is an extraordinary new movie, "Murderball." It's an energizing, intense, inspiring film. Let's meet some of the -- five of the participants in it. We'll show you clips throughout the program as well.
Joining us here in studio is Bob Lujano. He played quad rugby for Team USA in the 2004 Paralympics. He's coordinator of athletes for the Lakeshore Foundation. That's an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site.
Andy Cohn has played quad rugby for Team USA in the 2004 Paralympics, a former USA Quad Rugby Association athlete of the year.
Mark Zupan has played quad rugby for Team USA in the 2004 Paralympics. He's a spokesman for the team and a former quad rugby player of the year.
Keith Cavill is a newcomer to the sport. Like the other guys on the show tonight, his story is featured in the documentary "Murderball."
And Scott Hodgsett played quad rugby for Team USA in the 2004 Paralympics. He's a newlywed. In fact, he got married St. Patrick's Day in Hawaii.
A brief synopsis. It's played in four eight-minute quarters, a 32-minute game, four against four on a basketball court. The team scores when one of the players crosses the goal line carrying the ball.
Players must pass or dribble within 10 seconds. Each player gets a rater from .5 to 3.5. Grading his level of disability.
The team can only have a total of eight points on the floor at a time. It has been called a contact sport. It's not a contact sport -- a collision sport.
Let's show you a little bit of "Murderball" and then talk to our group. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blow the whistle. Blow the whistle. Please, tell him that's a foul.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got that one right there. He's behind you!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pick it up! Pick it up! Push out! Push out!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hit him! Hit him!
(END VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
KING: Let's start with Bob Lujano.
Now, first, on what a definition of a quadriplegic is. It doesn't mean necessarily you have four limbs gone, right?
BOB LUJANO, QUAD RUGBY PLAYER: No, I'm actually a quadruple amputee. I did lose both of my arms and legs to a rare blood disease. The other guys have all severed their neck at the cervical level, which gives them impairment in their -- in their extremities.
KING: But quad doesn't mean four?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quad means impairment in all four limbs. It doesn't mean total paralysis. It means you have impairment.
So each one of us has impairment because we have broken our necks. Some more severely than others, but it's -- that's the biggest misconception is they think Christopher Reeve, they think, oh, well, you can't move anything because you're a quadriplegic.
KING: Obviously your arms are fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all can move our arms. You've got be able to propel your own chair to play wheelchair rugby.
KING: How do you use your arms?
LUJANO: I wear these prosthetic devices on my arms. And I'm able to push the wheels and stop.
KING: Let's find out how each of you got to be this way.
What happened to you, Bob? LUJANO: I contracted a rare blood disease called meningococcaemia, a very rare form of meningitis. And it just basically prevented circulation in my arms and legs, which cause gangrene. And they had to amputate.
KING: Had to amputate. What age?
LUJANO: I was 9 years old.
KING: What happened to you, Andy?
ANDY COHN, QUAD RUGBY PLAYER: When I was 16, I was a passenger in a car coming home from school. And the driver just lost control of the vehicle and it flipped over. And the roof landed on my head a few times.
COHN: I had a broken neck. And I'm an incomplete quadriplegic.
KING: So incomplete quadriplegic.
COHN: Yes. Like, I retained a lot of the feeling, like throughout my body, and things like that, but I don't have the movement.
MARK ZUPAN, QUAD RUGBY PLAYER: I was 18 years old. After a college soccer game, went out, it was dollar shots, nickel beers, drank a bit too much, wandered out past out my buddy's pickup truck. Chris Igo (ph) was the driver, my best friend. Hopped in the car.
KING: He's going to call in later.
ZUPAN: Yes. Hopped in the car, drove home, got lost, spun out, threw me over a fence, over some trees, into a canal, where I spent 13.5 hours hanging onto a branch until somebody found me.
I broke my neck, C67. I'm an incomplete quadriplegic.
KING: Incomplete meaning?
ZUPAN: Meaning I have feeling all over. I have some movement below -- below my waist, and it's good. It's good.
KING: Keith, what happened?
KEITH CAVILL, QUAD RUGBY PLAYER: Fortunately, I have a very powerful attorney, Carlos Coppa (ph), who will not allow me to say the accident how I got hurt. But I also am a quadriplegic, C 4,5.
KING: How long ago?
CAVILL: It was a year August 23. I'm going to be two years August 23. KING: So you're how old?
CAVILL: I'm 24.
KING: So you're the latest one. Were you the oldest to have something happen to you?
CAVILL: Yes, I believe so.
KING: But you can't discuss it because there's a lawsuit involved.
CAVILL: To that degree.
KING: Scott, what happened to you?
SCOTT HOGSETT, QUAD RUGBY PLAYER: I got injured 13 years ago in a freak accident out on a lake cabin. A drunk individual was trying to pick a fight with me, and he picked me up and threw me off the deck. And I fell 10 feet and broke my neck.
KING: And you are?
HOGSETT: They rendered me a C 5,6 quadriplegic.
HOGSETT: Meaning that I'm probably the lowest functioning of all the guys up here. I can move my arms, but my fingers don't move at all. But I still am able to live a complete independent life.
CAVILL: Can I touch on something real quick? You asked what exactly is an incomplete injury.
When you first your spine, you don't know the extent of the damage. And when they say incomplete, granted, none of us know really what our fate is as opposed to what we'll get in return and what may not return. That's why all of us are all individual.
KING: How have you adjusted to this, Andy?
COHN: There's definitely an adjustment period afterwards, because, as you heard, a lot of us were like teenagers when we got hurt. And, you know, you're at the point in your life when you feel like you can do anything, you're invincible, and you're also trying to get out on your own. And then, all of a sudden, in an instant, you feel like you can't do anything all of a sudden.
And, like, it was definitely a little bit hard for me. I kind of became a bet of a recluse and just kind of thought that I would hide and kind of deny it until it went away and then just reappear to the world walking again.
KING: What brought you out?
COHN: "Murderball." KING: Did "Murderball" help all of you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It made us the people I think we are today.
KING: Were you fortunate that it happened when you were 9 and not when you were 16?
LUJANO: Yes, very fortunate. You know, faith in god and my family back home in Wichita, Kansas, and Granbury, Texas -- Newton, Kansas, and Granbury, Texas -- were very much instrumental in helping me. But I think all of us have one thing in common, is that we were all very much athletes, you know, before our accident, and very much competitive-natured and...
KING: Played basketball...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Football.
LUJANO: And rugby just continues.
KING: We'll find out all about the rugby.
Mark, how did you come back?
ZUPAN: It was kind of interesting. I mean, being 18, I lived a fairly decent able-bodied life. I mean, I had 18 -- I had 18 years that were good.
You break your neck, you don't know what's going to happen. I mean, it's foreign.
You're in this body that you thought you were -- that you were accustomed to, and now you're not. You have to figure out everything. I think the biggest thing for me was getting a license, because it gives you -- it gives you your independence back.
KING: A license to drive?
ZUPAN: To drive, right. You get your -- because if you have an accident like we've had, they take your license away and you have to go and...
KING: And you're dependent on others.
ZUPAN: Right. I mean, it gives you your independence back. I drove just -- "Where are you going?" "Minnesota." "Why?" "Because I can."
So, I mean, that was the big thing. And then rugby definitely has... KING: Keith?
CAVILL: Myself, I've always been in extreme sports. Love the adrenaline rush, go higher, faster.
KING: You like the X Games on ESPN.
CAVILL: Yes, very much so. And...
KING: So you gravitated to this easy?
CAVILL: To a certain degree. I -- when I first became injured, I was very active, played all different types of sports, started a company of my own. And I've lost a lot of friends, and one of the friends in particular walked away with my business company.
CAVILL: So, therefore, I am laying in a hospital bed, cannot move anything, shoulders down, and I had my whole life washed away.
KING: We'll find out how Scott handled recovery, and we'll talk about "Murderball," how they got involved in this, how the game was conceived, what happens at the Olympics, who is the champion. And the film is out now. It's called "Murderball."
We'll be taking your calls in a while, too. Right now we'll put some more logs on the air-conditioning and we'll be back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The objective, basically, is to inbound the ball. We play on a regulation basketball court. You go from one end to the other end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop the ball! Stop the ball! Stop the ball! Stop the ball!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two wheels have to cross over the line with possession of the ball. And you get one point.
The other guys stop you by slamming their chair into you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help him! Dave! Dave! Help him!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to dribble the ball or pass to a teammate once every 10 seconds. But other than that, it's basically kill the man with the ball.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody who gets hurt thinks they're going to walk again. Your mind becomes a bigger disability than the physical stuff. I had the idea that I would get better and walk again.
So I was kind of just going to hide and kind of deny the whole thing until it went away. I didn't go outside, kind of just -- I even got to the point where I got scared to get the newspaper in the morning just because I thought people would look at me, like in the driveway. And just that kind of fed itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
KING: Bob, is "Murderball" the name of the movie or is it the name of the sport?
LUJANO: Well, it's both. But it is named after -- the sport murderball is rugby, and it was originated by the Canadians.
KING: How long ago?
LUJANO: I think back in '78.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Late '70s.
LUJANO: Late '70s. And then it came down to the states in '84.
KING: How did you get involved?
LUJANO: I was actually working for the Atlanta Paralympic Games in '96, and I actually started about a year earlier. And Bill Furbish (ph) took me to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. And I was introduced to the sport and loved it ever since.
KING: Despite its violence and hecticness?
LUJANO: Well, I'm a huge football fan, huge Dallas Cowboys fan. So I definitely loved the physical contact of it.
KING: Andy, what brought to you it?
COHN: Yes, I mean, it's not that I wanted to play despite all the contact. I wanted to play because of all the contact. Like, as soon as -- I played high school football, and as soon as I saw that you could just totally hit somebody as hard as you can, and it was not only allowed, it was encouraged, I found the perfect sport.
KING: Because you're a little nuts?
KING: I forgot, before we get back to it, I forgot to ask Scott how he got through this after your injury.
HOGSETT: You know, it kind of goes back to what type of person I was before I got injured. I've always been a competitor and accepted challenges head on. And when I broke my neck, I was like, "Woo, this is quite the challenge." And, you know, I just tackled it and went for it, and I've really never looked back.
KING: What brought you to it, Mark?
ZUPAN: It's -- I mean, the competitive aspect, you find this. And I was playing college soccer when I got hurt. And you get hurt, and you're missing that little edge.
It's like, well, wait, I want to compete. I want to be the best at something I can be. And the contact is, of course, something that's always going to draw you in.
ZUPAN: I mean, that's -- oh, it was...
KING: Not to me it ain't.
ZUPAN: Well, I guess to us, because maybe we are missing a little -- a screw is loose. But, I mean, it's that -- it's the speed. It's the chairs. I mean, the chairs have come so far.
KING: They're special chairs, right?
ZUPAN: Yes, sir. The chairs have developed and become so, so far -- from '96 to 2005, it's like a little tank. It's like a little thing from a "Mad Max" film. And you're sitting there and you're like, "Oh, wait, I get to use this, I get to hit people and to have fun."
KING: How fast do you go?
ZUPAN: As fast as your arms can move, I guess. I don't know. I don't necessarily...
KING: Why didn't you play, Keith, quadriplegic basketball, which is -- everybody knows it's been around a long time. I think there's a pro league.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's wheelchair basketball, but it's more paraplegics, it's not quad -- quadriplegics. You don't have as much fun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, rugby was developed for quadriplegics to play.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because basketball was something they couldn't play. Basketball was very difficult to play. And so that's what quadriplegics do.
KING: So the paraplegic can play basketball.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KING: You couldn't play basketball?
ZUPAN: Just, because of function-wise. I mean, pars (ph) have more function. They have pretty much full hand function.
KING: They can't use their legs.
ZUPAN: Correct. And we're all four limbs, and they're just the lower.
CAVILL: The one thing that appealed most to me was, A, Mark Zupan's appearance coming into Kessler University (ph).
KING: Oh, he came to recruit?
CAVILL: Not necessarily recruit, but he came to speak about the sport and how he's part of the Olympic team. And, you know, it was just -- he let me get into his wheelchair, and I felt the old adrenaline rush as if any other sport that you get out there and you do a physical aspect.
I guess any of us just look for that adrenaline rush and want to go out and strive to hit something.
HOGSETT: I started playing immediately like eight months after I got injured. And I got out there, and my first practice, I fell out of my wheelchair three times. And I was like -- I shook it off, and once practice was over, my head and my neck was still on my shoulders, and I was like, "Oh, this is a perfect fit," and I just kept playing.
KING: Now, the film is about the championship in two different years, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KING: When the Canadians win, and then the end, when there's the other championship game two years later. Is that right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The (INAUDIBLE) Olympic games.
KING: How many countries participate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight for the world championships, and...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve for the world championships.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve for the world championships and eight for the Paralympics. And the world championships is more of a qualifier for paralympics. KING: Did Canada sort of invent it? I mean, is that where they played it first?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's where the game was started and invented.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but we took it over and we developed it to become -- not necessarily us, but the U.S. developed it and became the sport it's today.
KING: Is that your biggest rival, Canada?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KING: And that's what the film's about, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The USA -- Team USA has dominated for the last...
ZUPAN: The film, it's not necessarily just about, you know, that -- just the rivalry.
KING: It's about your lives.
ZUPAN: It's about life. It's about -- I mean, it's a heartfelt story of how Keith -- Keith is the every quad. He is Andy. He is myself. He is Scott. What we went through.
They could have sat there and put us as a talking head and saying, OK, this is how we got hurt, this is this. But to see Keith, to see the struggles that he goes through, it brings it so much more to head. It shows...
KING: It's also pretty raw, right?
ZUPAN: That's exactly what it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very much so.
KING: And it gets into your sex lives. It gets in everything, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shows us as normal people, normal athletes, and playing a great game. And...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shows us as aggressive people as opposed to being passive and then not being active at all.
ZUPAN: It shows how your family reacts. I mean, it's a great -- it's a great story for -- parents who go see and see it say, oh, well, wait, how would I deal with something if my son or daughter gets hurt? How would I deal with it? KING: Yes.
ZUPAN: So it's -- I mean, it just -- it touches everything. It's a roller coaster of emotions.
KING: Let me get a break. And we'll be right back. We will be including your calls in a little while.
The film is "Murderball." It's a major documentary. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you go down to that gym, you realize how much you're broken down. You're really almost at an infant's level. You get frustrated, because you can't even lift your arm up to itch your nose. Just shaking hands with somebody, I can't even make a firm grip with my hand to present myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "MURDERBALL")
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHN: When I was 16, I was in a car accident. A car hit a tree and made the car flip. And when it flipped, the roof came down on my head and I became an incomplete C6 quadriplegic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How did the movie, Andy, come about?
COHN: They -- it's actually Dana Shapiro is the director, and he originally pitched it to "Maxim" magazine. And it became a story in there.
And he came over to Sweden in 2002 to write the story and brought a camera guy, Henry Alex Ruben (ph). And from there, they followed us for almost two-and-a-half years, and it turned into a good movie that -- you know, I think, too, like, we've all talked about what happened to us, how we got hurt, but the movie is so much more than that.
And I just hope that people understand that. You know, if you talk to us, we're not going to whine and talk about how we got hurt or try to make you feel bad for us. And the movie doesn't do that.
Like, when people see the movie, people have no idea about disabilities or sports in general. When just an average person sees it, they're amazed at how funny the movie is and how -- how much it kind of transcends disability. It almost has nothing to do with disability, and I think -- like, that's why...
KING: It's a good story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
It's not this woe is me afterschool special, please feel bad for the guy in the chair. Oh, his life is so, so hard. Our lives are awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's exactly right.
KING: You love your life?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't change it. I wouldn't change it if I had the opportunity. There's no way.
KING: You don't mibd that people look at you in airports?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. You know why? Because it's fun. You can have fun with that.
CAVILL: I believe it's the people who we've become after the injury.
CAVILL: More or less so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You started a new life. You started a new life. You lived life for 18 years, and you -- you open another door, another chapter in a sense.
KING: Do you use the word "handicapped"?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I hate that word.
KING: All of you hate it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very strong word. Very strong.
KING: The thing most people think about is sex life. You have a sex life?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
KING: You have a sex life? You just got married, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope. I am very single.
KING: You did. Do you have a sex life?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are absolutely correct. And it's a whole other show.
KING: What about you?
LUJANO: I have a girlfriend, Amy Bruder (ph).
And happy birthday to you. So...
KING: So, you know, because that -- I bet that's the thing most people would think about, right?
ZUPAN: Oh, we were out -- we were out, what, last night, and it took five minutes. And they're like, "So does everything work?" And you're like, "Wowl, that was a big old opener."
KING: Girls come on to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely.
KING: You mean this is a plus?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you definitely stand out a little bit in the crowd. And then, you know, it has to do with just about everything in life.
If you -- the way you act and the way you put out, whatever you put out there is what people are going to see. And you know, we're not whiners and we're not...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We actually put out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, the more you put out...
KING: Does the sport -- does it draw people, Scott?
HOGSETT: Yes. And especially with this movie out, it's going to get even bigger next year. We're real excited for it.
KING: Where do you play? It what kind of gyms?
HOGSETT: Just a gym floor. We'll play in high schools. We'll play in arenas. We'll play in community centers.
KING: Do you think you'll play one at Madison Square Garden?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd like to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a court? Definitely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, that's -- that's the goal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the biggest stage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The goal is...
KING: I know the people there. Why wouldn't they be interested in this, especially if they could put on like a two-day tournament? If you play tonight, how long before you can play again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We play to two to three games a day.
KING: Two to three games a day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
KING: And you can play on consecutive days? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to. You do. I mean, the paralympics...
KING: So the Garden could run a tournament in two days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes.
KING: With. -- elimination trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we can incorporate it -- what we've been talking about is the X Games. You incorporate it with the X Games and have an -- have an exhibition with the X Games and kind of go, OK, well, here's the half pipe (ph), or here's the (INAUDIBLE).
KING: Has ESPN seen it, Bob?
LUJANO: Yes, they have. They actually have sent people out to cover the games. I know in Louisville, at the national championship, they were there filming segments and getting action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did a piece called "Timeless." And it just pretty much...
KING: Are there certain skills? Like, are there certain guys who are better defensively?
ZUPAN: Of course. Scott's primarily a defender.
HOGSETT: I'm considered a picker on the floor.
KING: You knock people over?
KING: You set (ph) picks?
KING: You're a pulling guard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HOGSETT: There's no glory in it. These guys are all glory boys. They get to score...
KING: Who is the leading scorer?
LUJANO: Bobby Zupan. He's got the best hands, can throw the ball very good.
KING: And to score you have to do what? You get to the end of the line and? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just have to cross -- you have to cross the line with two wheels over the end line, with possession of the ball. You can't go on the other side of it and someone can't throw you a pass over the line. You have to have control.
KING: And the referee has to know the total amount of disability, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The points on the floor, yes. There's a -- there's a table that you check in.
We all have cards that have our point value. The coach is responsible essentially for putting the right amount of points on.
KING: Is the coach injured, too?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't necessarily have to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But ours -- both of ours are.
KING: How many on a team?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve.
KING: Twelve. How many minutes can you usually play?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As many as they need us to play.
KING: I mean, you'll play -- you could play a whole quarter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could play a whole game, 32 minutes straight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one of the great things about the sport, is not only is the sport unique, but I think, if I could say, that it takes a unique person to actually participate in the sport.
ZUPAN: I mean, in our club -- our club teams, we all play pretty much 32 minutes.
KING: This is an all-star team, right?
ZUPAN: Yes, this is the best -- it's the best 12 out of 500 people in the U.S.
KING: Oh. You have your own club teams back home.
Where do you live?
HOGSETT: I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and play for the Phoenix Heat.
CAVILL: I play for the New York Jets through the United Spinal Cord Association. KING: In New York?
ZUPAN: I play for Texas Stampede, two-time defending national champions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, boo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on the Phoenix team with Scott.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lakeshore Demolition five-time United States (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. Not defending.
KING: "Murderball" is the movie, an aptly named sport. We're going to take a break and come back. We'll talk on the phone with Christopher Igo (ph), who is responsible for Mark's injury, right?
KING: Have you forgiven him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made me. He is the quadfather, if you will.
KING: He's the quadfather. And then we'll be taking your calls.
You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.
KING: We're with the stars of "Murderball." They are Bob Lujano and Andy Cohn and Mark Zupan and Keith Cavill and Scott Hogsett, right?
KING: Joining us on the phone is Christopher Igoe, he was Mark Zupan's long-time friend. He was driving the truck from which Mark was flung, breaking his neck. His relationship and the reconciliation with Mark is part of the story. We're going to take a look now, before we talk with Chris, as quadriplegic Mark Zupan's father recalls what he said to Chris right after the accident. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were two best friends and after the accident, Chris Igoe thought I was -- he thought I was going to beat the shit out of him and I hugged him. What else could I do? I says, "this was an accident. I know you didn't do this intentionally and as a result of that, don't worry about it. But you are responsible and don't forget that either."
KING: Chris Iago in Margate, Florida, what happened that day?
IGOE: Well, it was a -- first of all: Hi, guys.
ZUPAN: Quad-father, hey!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up, Igoe?
IGOE: Well, we went out after a soccer game and basically went to celebrate and got dead-stinking drunk and at the end of the night, Mark went to the back of my truck to, I guess lay down and shortly thereafter, I left, too and I drove home. And we got into an accident and Mark got hurt.
KING: Why did you drive?
IGOE: Well, at that point in time, I was thinking I would get home. But in retrospect the message that I would like to send is that you don't drink and drive.
KING: Were you charged with anything?
IGOE: Yes, I got charged with DUI.
ZUPAN: Remember, and you got charged with attempted manslaughter.
IGOE: That's actually true. I got charged with -- originally with DUI.
ZUPAN: I said there's no way in hell that I...
KING: That he tried to kill you.
ZUPAN: Well, I said no. We're not pursuing that at all.
KING: Did they suspend your license, Chris?
IGOE: Yes, I got all the negative ramifications that you get from a DUI: Lost my license, probation for an extended period of time. It wasn't fun, but they were trying, at one point, to come after me for manslaughter or DUI with serious bodily injury and Mark stepped in and wouldn't allow that.
KING: How do you deal, Chris, with obvious guilt?
IGOE: Well, it's a lot easier to deal with it when you see the success that Mark's had in life. For me to see some of the things that have happened because of the, being associated with the film, I've got to see some really powerful things that have helped me put this whole accident into perspective. Mark forgave me right away and it took me a heck of a lot longer for me to get closure for myself. But I've done that and I'm very happy. KING: Are you a fan of the sport?
IGOE: I love the sport! This is -- watching these guys play is like watching, you know, the NFL on steroids with an adrenalin rush or something. I mean, it's really crazy watching these guys go at it and from an able-body perspective, you might not think these guys can kick as much ass as they do, but it's amazing and the film itself just capture all of that. It's awesome.
ZUPAN: We actually put him in a chair about three weeks ago and he was pushing with us and it's kind of funny. He -- we were doing laps around the gym. His best lap was 36 seconds and I think mine was like 13 and he's sitting there going, "damn."
IGOE: I let you win, Mark. I felt bad for you.
ZUPAN: Yes, right!
KING: Chris, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
IGOE: Thanks so much.
KING: It took a lot of courage to do that.
Now, let's find out, before we get to other questions -- then we're going to go to your calls -- what each of theses folks do. Scott, what do you do for a living?
HOGSETT: Right now, I dedicate my life to Team USA Rugby and I'm also a peer mentor back in Phoenix. I work with the new injuries and transition them into their new lives in wheelchairs and pretty much it's all USA Rugby.
CAVILL: Currently, basically, I'm still in therapy three days a week. I'm actively speaking to newly injured kids at Kessler Rehab Facility in West Orange, where I got hurt and established pretty much like a family relationship. But, I'm actually training to become a quadriplegic rugby star.
CAVILL: I'm coming for Mark.
KING: Mark, what do you do for a living?
ZUPAN: I am -- I went to school at Georgia Tech. I'm a civil engineer for a company called C. Faulkner Engineering in Austin and they've been so awesome just with everything; letting me go and do stuff like this. Just to -- they understand the movie. They understand what we're doing. It's been awesome. So, I'm a civil engineer.
KING: You're a Rambling Wreck.
ZUPAN: I am a Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech.
KING: Andy, what do you do?
COHN: Similar to Scott I'm pretty dedicated to rugby, but he was little modest, too. He started a peer mentoring in Phoenix at St. Joseph Hospital and we do outreach work with people with disabilities and new injuries and I help participate that.
KING: And Bob?
LUJANO: I'm a coordinator of athletics at the Lake Shore Foundation and our mission is to provide recreational opportunities to people with physical disabilities. I work primarily with kids and youth and also do some speaking with Hartford and Keppler.
KING: Keith, why don't they wear helmets?
CAVILL: Like my mom would say, "and why not?" Is because I think it takes away from the danger aspect. You don't want to go out there with elbow pads, knee pads and a helmet. In case you fall -- in case you fall out of your chair...
KING: Yes, but you can get head injuries.
ZUPAN: Well, I guess -- the whole objective...
CAVILL: What are you going to do, break your neck?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again.
KING: Again, yes. Break a neck. Yes.
ZUPAN: The whole thing is you don't want to pigeon-holed as "oh, he's a guy in a wheel chair. He's very fragile. You better watch out."
You look at basketball, -- wheelchair basketball -- you look at any other sport. They don't wear pads. It's just -- it's one of those things.
KING: The most common injury?
HOGSETT: Cracked elbows pretty much. We're always falling on our elbows.
ZUPAN: Elbows, ribs -- you break some ribs. You hit your head a couple of times, but the game has come and the chairs have become more stable, so you're not getting knocked out -- your -- only way you're getting hit and laid out, is if you're -- get a good hit.
KING: You are strapped in, aren't you, Andy?
ZUPAN: Yes, sir.
COHN: Yes, definitely.
KING: So, when you fall, the chair goes with you?
COHN: The chair really takes a lot of the impact and injury wise, it's kind of like guys who go and play pick-up tackle football on the weekend. You know, you get bumped and bruised mostly...
KING: You don't fall out of the chair.
COHN: No, you just go down.
KING: we're going to take a break, come back and go to your phone calls. "Murderball" is now playing in -- are you playing everywhere? Is it wide now?
ZUPAN: Yes. I think it's on 90 screens.
KING: And it's going to grow. After this show, it's going to grow a lot. We'll be right back.
ZUPAN: Go see it!
COHN: Go see the movie, please! Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time I saw Mark Zupan was at a friend of our's funeral. He rolled in and introduced himself and I don't think we had a moment apart from that night.
I really think it's curiosity that attracts a lot of girls to quadriplegics and I think maybe also to some extent, it's the mothering instinct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more pitiful I am, the more the women like me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The girls are interested, you know, if they really like you, there is one question that pops in their head pretty quick. But they don't want to come out and say it. So they'll start with, like, how did you get hurt?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you can move them some? Or you can't move your arms?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I can move them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But see, it takes about 10 to 20 minutes of working that chick. And then she finally drops the bomb, you know, can do you it? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it -- dead?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's all still very, very good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everyone here, ding, ding, ding, woo- hoo!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Encouraging, isn't it? Mark by the way, you favor stem cell research?
ZUPAN: Do I favor it? I don't know enough about it.
KING: Do you think it could help you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't really worry about it, because we enjoy pretty much our lives.
KING: If someone had a cure you would take it?
ZUPAN: I wouldn't say that. I would not say that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the best thing that ever happened to us.
KING: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Someone comes in here with a vial, a pill, a magic bullet and say, you can walk and do anything you want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) have a gold medal in the other hand. I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think all of us would listen, but I don't -- none of us would be the first one to line up and go rush in to do with that. There's nothing wrong with us that needs to be cured and, you know, that's...
ZUPAN: We've done more in a chair than we have-able bodied. We have been to more place, we met more people, we've been fortunate enough to do. How many do you know have a medal from the paraOlympics.
Don't get to be on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: You got a point.
Rock Ford, Illinois, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry, Hi, guy. You guys are so cool.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
CALLER: I wanted to say you're not handicapped at all in my eyes. I wanted to ask you about your wheelchairs. Who designed them? Who sponsors you? How much do they weigh? How much do they cost? And you can come to Rockford and appear at the Metro Center any time you want.
KING: Give me a history -- a little aoubt the chairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I use Eagle Sports Chairs out of Schnellville, Georgia.
KING: What do they cost?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it will go about $3,000.
ZUPAN: There's two manufacturers in the States: there's Vesco Metalcraft and there's Eagle Sports.
KING: Are they light?
ZUPAN: No. They way about -- our everyday chairs probably weigh about 10 to 12 pounds. The rugby chair weighs anywhere from 35 to 40.
KING: Improved a lot since you started?
COHN: The chair, the manufacturer of the chairs has really taken off which has really helped the sport take off just as well. The manufacturers have gotten better and people have specialized in making rugby wheelchairs. And it's helped the sport grow.
KING: Because you're can't -- you're not going to sell 20,000 of them.
CAVILL: I actually acquired my Eagle Wheelchair through Mark Zupan, and friends of the film, who were very more than generous.
ZUPAN: We got a donation a lady from Boston.
ZUPAN: I think her name was Helen from the Wendy -- what was it, the Michael and Helen -- her name was Wendy Apelle. It was the Michael and Helen Sheafer Foundation. They called -- she called and said I want to buy Keith a chair. So, donated the money, got a chair made and surprised him at the premiere.
KING: Do all of you have the same chairs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody's different.
KING: To Jacksonville, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, you doing?
CALLER: This is Jeff Zupan. I just, first of all wanted to congratulate Scott on getting married.
ZUPAN: What's up Jeff? CALLER: How you doing guys?
KING: Is this your brother?
ZUPAN: This is my brother.
CALLER: And I just wanted to say one thing. From a younger brother to an older brother to experience everything that I've seen from this side, to be standing and watching my brother on Larry King is absolutely one of the most amazing things. And I'm so proud of each and every one of you guys for sticking through it. And now you guys can inspire everyone in this country who gets hurt that life is not over. And it's only the beginning. And that's all I had to say.
ZUPAN: Thanks, Jeff.
CALLER: You got it guys. Keep me rolling.
KING: That's your baby brother?
ZUPAN: Yeah, that's my brother. He's 28.
KING: Burlington, Ontario, hello.
CALLER: Hi Larry. Hi, guys. I know you guys aren't afraid of playing "murderball," but are your families worried about you reinjuring yourself at all?
KING: Good question. Start with you.
LUJANO: No. In the ten plus years I've been playing, I've broken guys finger, busted a guys lip, a guys nose, knocked a guy's tooth loose, so I'm not worried.
KING: But is your family worried about you?
LUJANO: I don't think they're worried about me.
KING: What about you, Andy?
COHEN: No. I mean -- and it's just something about seeing people in wheelchairs, there's an adjustment aftery ou get hurt where you are a little bit fragile. But once you get by that, you know, you're normal. And it's just like playing normal sports and they don't worry about us, because they know...
KING: They come and watch you play?
COHEN: They love watching me play.
KING: What about yours, Mark. Well, your brother don't worry?
ZUPAN: No. My mom and dad, they've -- it's been contact sports always. So, they saw it -- at first, you know, they might be a little timid. But after they're like oh, wait, no, hit him harder! Come on, this is cool, get the angle. Get the angle. So, they're fans of the sport.
CAVILL: My mother and sister, every time I either move to the side of my chair or if I hesitate, hit a bump, they're like cats. They're up off their feet, diving with hands underneath me as opposed to my brother, who we have a great time to go out and party, and we end up doing drunken bowling at the end of the night, which is down the sidewalk, and I have to steer.
KING: And you?
HOGSETT: My family's been huge in supporting me. It's kind of funny. If I got injured again playing rugby, my mom would be like oh, boy, here we go again. And it would be no big deal. My wife's been huge too.
KING: You guys are amazing. We'll be right back with more phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUPAN: You break your neck and look these things may be impaired, but you know, that still works.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's humorous at times to watch the process of trying that you know, you might fall over, or you might have to do some modifications to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, so does the girl have to be on top?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of girls like being on top.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Unbelievable. Corpus Christi, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. Hello, guys.
KING: What's the question?
CALLER: Hello. Hello. Actually, I was calling because I wanted to call to say hello to Bob. Your my old friend from high school.
LUJANO: Oh, what's your name?
CALLER: Laura Hernandez.
LUJANO: My prom date.
LUJANO: Laura and Sonya Hernandez were my prom dates.
KING: How long since you've seen Bob?
CALLER: Say again?
KING: How long since you seen Bob, Laura?
CALLER: It's been since high school since I've seen him. And I've lost track of him.
KING: Go see the movie. What kind of date was he?
CALLER: Say again?
KING: What knid of date was he?
CALLER: Oh, he was a total gentleman. He and his best friend. And my sister and I had a blast. And we all rode in a nice Mercedes to the prom. And had a blast.
LUJANO: That was a good friend, Bobby Haines (ph) (inaudible)
KING: Thanks you, dear. Thanks for calling.
ZUPAN: Oh, Bobby! What a gentleman!
KING: No longer a gentleman.
Soldotna, Alaska. Hello.
CALLER: Hey. Hi, Larry. And guys, you are just so rocking. I just love you all. Listen, being from Alaska, where is the closest teams and how many are there and is there any female teams?
KING: Good question -- any female teams?
LUJANO: There are women who play rugby. It's a coed sport.
KING: So, women could be on your team.
ZUPAN: Yes, it's a coed sport.
KING: Any in Alaska?
HOGSETT: The closest team I'd say is in Seattle.
HOGSETT: Definitely in Seattle.
KING: So, you have to do to Seattle.
Maryville, California. Hello
Caller: Hello, Larry. I want to ask these guys if they know about going on Kid Crisp (ph) going on WYSP in Philadelphia.
KING: Don't just say no. I don't know about Kid Crisp.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know who that is.
KING: People overreact.
Pittsburgh, Kansas. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Larry. How are you?
KING: Yes. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, I'm interested in knowing what those of us in southeast Kansas -- and I work for -- this is Dave from Southeast Kansas Independent Living. I'm interesting knowing what those of us from southeast Kansas and other rural areas of the country can do to get this movie in out home town? Any ideas?
KING: One word?
ZUPAN: Yes. It's there co-producing or co-distributing it with MTV.
KING: And MTV -- you can contact MTV or ThinkFilm, that's one word.
ZUPAN: ThinkFilm -- it's ThinkFilmCompany..
LUJANO: I would just go to your local theater. That's what I did in Newton, Kansas. I went to the local theater and asked them to call ThinkFilms and the movie is going to be going to Newton, Kansas. So...
ZUPAN: It's just a matter of the -- if the theaters -- the theaters are kind of scared to put it in certain times.
ZUPAN: Yes. I mean, we got pulled -- I think, a couple of theaters pulled it because the numbers weren't what they expected.
LUJANO: I think, too, when people hear "documentary" they instantly think "boring" and something about wheelchair documentary, they think it's going to be something heavy. And even if they -- it is a good movie, they feel more like it's a movie they should see, instead of a movie they want to see and that's just not true. KING: Anybody watching this show tonight isn't going to have that opinon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's got a great plot.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments with this incredible crew. The movie is "Muderball." Don't go away.
KING: These guys also deserve a medal for sitting through this interview -- we have no air conditioning in Los Angeles, if you joined us late. Anyway, Keith wants to say something.
CAVILL: On behalf of Christian at Ed Hardy -- DunHardy.com (ph), wanted me to present this with you. I tried to match it with the suspenders, but...
KING: We'll, there's red in it. There's blue.
CAVILL: There you go.
KING: Wow and this is an Ed Hardy --
CAVILL: It's an art designer and they decided to make a trendy clothing line with vintage tees and I love all their artwork and all of the clothes that they prepare.
KING: Smart promotionalists. You guys are smart.
CAVILL: You look sharp, too, with it. That's why.
KING: So, when you guys -- thanks very much. I will treasure this. I will wear it a lot. You guys look to the future. How long can you play this sport?
LUJANO: As long as the body keeps going.
KING: What age?
LUJANO: I keep training at Lake Shore Foundation and...
KING: How old are you?
LUJANO: I'm 36 years old.
KING: You think you can play until you're 45?
LUJANO: I'm going to go for it.
ZUPAN: He's got to stop eating cookies and ice cream.
ZUPAN: Ice cream. I love ice cream.
COHN: It's kind of like any sport. You kind of have a prime and you know, your early 30s are about the end. Like, Bob's already on the decline a little bit. 4
KING: would you want to coach it someday, Mark?
ZUPAN: Of course. That's always -- if it's necessarily wheelchair rugby or able-body sports. I mean, I want to have kids and give them what my parents gave me. I mean...
KING: You want to have children?
ZUPAN: I do.
KING: All of you want to have children?
CAVILL: Very much so.
KING: The player of the year, Keith -- is he's usually the one who scores the most goals?
CAVILL: I believe so.
KING: You're about to get that? You're on your way to that?
CAVILL: Yes, I'm on a beginning streak and hopefully I'll be able to train with these guys and get a lot more pointers.
KING: One more call. Carl Springs, Florida. Hello.
Caller: Hi, Larry. Hi, Guys.
CALLER: Z-man, shout out from the home.
ZUPAN: What's up?
CALLER: Just want to say what a wonderful guys you are and how proud that we are here in Coral Springs. The chowder's your fans and friends.
ZUPAN: Wow. Who's this?
CALLER: My name is Lisa McGuldrick (ph). I had a few pops with your mom and dad.
ZUPAN: I wonder why. You mean -- it's probably my dad?
CALLER: You think?
CALLE: Anyway, I just wanted to say I was really just so happy for you guys and Mark, you've -- this is it for you. You're just the man and anybody that wants to go into coaching, it's got to be you, because you're always telling somebody what to do. Anyway, guys, I know that you all have your other jobs and stuff, but what's your practice schedule like?
KING: Yes. How often do you practice, Scott?
HOGSETT: We train all the time. Four to five hours every day we're doing something, whether it's rugby...
HOGSETT: Yes. Rugby, ride my hand cycle, lifting weights, swimming, doing something.
KING: You do exercise?
HOGSETT: I'm a gym rat. Yes.
KING: Do you visit Walter Reed Hospital?
ZUPAN: He didn't. We did. All four of us did, which was awesome. I mean, just to get...
KING: Visit guys injured in the war.
ZUPAN: Yes. I mean, to give them another aspect of life. It's like: Yes, you guys did an honorable thing for us, defending our country and we're trying to do, just give you guys -- give everyone an outlet for sports, because it's not -- your life's not over once you're in a wheelchair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to show you there's more opportunities for you. If you're ever going to become disabled, this might be the time because there's definitely a lot of things to do.
KING: You've learned a lot through this, haven't you, Andy.
COHN: Yes. It's a definitely been a different path though life than I thought I'd take, but it's been a great one and you know, we've said it a few times we wouldn't -- I wouldn't change anything.
KING: I bet you look back now, as opposed to when you were injured --
ZUPAN: It's Totally different.
ZUPAN: We've been afforded so many opportunities. It's awesome.
KING: You head back -- all head back home tonight or do you have practice tomorrow or what?
CAVILL: I'm going to hang out tomorrow for a little while and hopefully catch some drinks before I do take off
KING: What do you guys drink?
ZUPAN: Drink, have fun. We're normal people.
LUJANO: Listen to music.
KING: And I want to apologize for the air system in here tonight. What do you care, right?
ZUPAN: This has been so cool. So, I mean, we can sit here and get a little warm. We appreciate it.
KING: Thank you all very much.
GROUP: Thank you.
KING: Mark Zupan, Andy Cohn, Keith Cavill, Bob Lujano, and Scott Hogsett. And you'll see them all in "Murderball" and it's a lot more than just playing rugby.
I just want to give a special happy birthday tonight. My father- in-law, Carl Ingerman (ph) is 75 years old today. He was the famous A and R man at Capital Records. He signed the Beach Boys and he manages Marie Osmond. He also manages his daughter, Shawn King. You're going to be hearing a lot about her, but we want to pay a special toast to him: 75 years young. Happy birthday, Carl. You deserve meat loaf tonight!
ZUPAN: Happy birthday!
KING: And now, say happy birthday.
GROUP: Happy birthday!
KING: And now we turn to things over to a man who has a birthday everyday. That's what it's like for Aaron Brown. Yes, it is Aaron. When you're a star like you, every day is your birthday. So happy birthday, Aaron.