Bob Lujano (’93 BA)
You’ll find his filmography on hollywood.com and Yahoo! Movies. He even merits an entry on imdb.com, the world’s most popular movie Web site. But Bob Lujano hardly considers himself a star.
The 36-year-old UT Arlington alumnus plays himself in Murderball, a 2005 documentary about quadriplegics who compete in full-contact rugby. Critically acclaimed with a growing cult following, the film’s DVD version hit stores in November.
“This sport is about intentionally slamming into people. You’re trying to knock them over,” he said. “Being a quad amputee, I’m not a very big guy. I basically try to evade other people to get in there and score.”
Score he has.
In 10 years of competition, Lujano has won five U.S. Quad Rugby National Championships with the Lakeshore Demolition of Birmingham, Ala., and three medals playing rugby for Team USA: a gold at the 1999 World Wheelchair Games in New Zealand, a silver at the World Championships of Rugby in Sweden and a bronze at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Greece.
At age 9 he lost his arms below the elbow and his legs above the knee to meningococcemia, a rare form of meningitis. But he learned to survive—and thrive.
Lujano graduated from UT Arlington in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in history and went on to earn a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Tennessee. For the past seven years, he has been coordinator of athletics at the Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site in Birmingham.
His motto: “No arms, no legs, no problem!”
— Mark Permenter