The opening ceremony of the Olympics gave a potted British history that disturbed me because it managed to leave science out- the token appearance of Tim Berners-Lee apart. The opening ceremony of the Paralympics, redressed the balance and put science at the forefront, appropriately so given its essential contribution to medicine. The Paralympics in London brings back many memories, not least because INI has a link to its founder, Ludwig Guttmann, a refugee German Jew who single-handedly revolutionised the treatment and rehabilitation of people with spinal injuries through his work as Director of the National Spinal Injury Centre at Stoke Mandeville, near Oxford, UK. For many years John Anderson, Rodney Douglas and I worked with David Whitteridge, whose portrait hangs in the INI entrance hall. As a neurophysiologist, Whitteridge worked with Ludwig Guttmann in the 1940s and 1950s, studying spinal reflexes. He told us many anecdotes about Guttmann, e.g. his injunction: 'The first duty of a paraplegic patient is to cheer up his visitors!' Whitteridge sponsored Guttmann's election to the Royal Society in 1976 and after Guttmann died in 1980, he wrote a moving account of his extraordinary life and achievements in a Biographical Memoir of the Royal Society (http://rsbm.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/29/226). Throughout my own childhood I had direct experience of the able-ness of the 'disabled' since my father taught at a blind school and later founded a school for so-called 'cerebral palsied' children, where they too had an annual sports day. Like the Stoke Mandeville Games, which later became the Paralympics, sports for blind and brain damaged children was a very central and fulfilling part of their lives. One legacy of Guttmann's humanity and vision - the London Paralympics - currently enthralls and inspires millions worldwide. - K. Martin
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