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Celebrating this year’s Tokyo Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, the home of the Paralympics

Date: 11/08/2021 | Category: News 2021

Good luck to all Paralympians taking part in this summer’s Games in Tokyo – especially those who have received support from our team in the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC).

This year’s Team GB sports stars with a link to the NSIC include:

·      Nathan Maguire who will be competing as a T54 wheelchair racer in 400 and 800 metre events and the 4x100m relay

·      Martin Rooke in badminton

·      Ben Pritchard and Lauren Rowles in rowing

·      Issy Bailey in shooting

·      Jim Palmer in basketball

·      Jon Coggan and Chris Ryan in rugby

On 18 August NSIC staff, patients and family members will aim to create 1000 origami cranes as emblems of good luck for all our NSIC athletes. An ancient Japanese legend promises that if anyone folds a thousand paper cranes they will be granted good luck by the gods.

The origami session in the NSIC foyer will take place ahead of the postponed 2020 Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony on Thursday 19 August 2021 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium – organised by partners and sponsors including Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Wheelpower, British Paralympic Association, International Paralympic Committee and Leap – which is part of the five-day-long official Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay.

The National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) is the oldest, and one of the largest spinal injuries centres in the world. It was founded by neurologist Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1944 to treat servicemen who had sustained spinal cord injuries in World War II.

In 1948, Professor Guttmann began using sport as a key element of rehabilitation programmes and on 29 July 1948 he organised a competition for 16 paralysed men and women to coincide with the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games in London. This date is now widely seen as the moment that the Paralympic movement was born.

Professor Guttmann received a knighthood in recognition of his contribution to the Paralympics and the ground-breaking techniques in rehabilitation he introduced. His vision and revolutionary work continues to this day at the Trust’s National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Patients are encouraged to try out many of the sports that feature in the Paralympics as part of their rehabilitation programme. Physio-supported sessions in the spinal gym and over at the Guttman Stadium allow patients with spinal cord injuries to build their strength and confidence.

Allison Graham, spinal consultant at the NSIC said: “It’s wonderful to watch people we have supported go on to compete against the very best in the world. We’re incredibly proud and inspired by their level of training, commitment and determination. We hope our current patients may be inspired to take up a sport as part of their rehabilitation programme – it may lead them to Paris in 2024 or LA in 2028.”

Neil Macdonald, Trust Chief Executive Officer said: “After a year like no other, the Trust is keen to support a Paralympics Games like no other. This year especially our staff in the NSIC and across the entire Trust can identify with and appreciate the passion, resolve and determination of our Paralympic athletes to dig deep and perform to the very best of their ability. We thank them for the opportunity the Games provides to collectively cheer and applaud their efforts. We wish all Paralympians who carry Professor Guttmann’s legacy forward, the very best of luck at the Games.”

Find out more information about the athletes and the Paralympic Games

International Paralympic committee: www.paralympic.org/ipc/history
National Paralympic Heritage Centre: www.paralympicheritage.org.uk/event/heritage-centre
Paralympic heritage Flame lighting ceremony: www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/section/paralympic-heritage-flame-lighting-ceremony

Please click here to find out more about the NSIC.