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Interesting and Fun Facts about Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the father of the Paralympic movement



Interesting Facts about Sir Ludwig Guttmann the father of the Paralympic movement

Search engine giant Google celebrates the 122nd birthday of a German-born British neurologist Professor Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann, the father of the Paralympic movement, with a Doodle on July 3, 2021. Google Doodle shows Sir Luttmann right in the center and a few moments from Paralympic Games that are drawn around him.

Professor Sir Ludwig Poppa Guttmann Google Doodle
Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann

Here is a look at the life and work of Ludwig Guttmann.


  • Birth name: Ludwig Guttmann
  • Birthdate: 3 July 1899
  • Birthplace: Tost, Prussia, German Empire (now Toszek, Poland)
  • Died on: 18 March 1980 (aged 80)
  • Death place: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
  • Citizenship: Germany, United Kingdom
  • Known for: Founding the Paralympic Games
  • Famous as: Neurologist
  • Notable awards:
    • Fellow of the Royal Society
    • Sir Thomas Fearnley Cup

45 Interesting Facts about Ludwig Guttmann

  1. Professor Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann CBE FRS is known as the father of the Paralympic movement; he was the medical pioneer who demonstrated that disabled sport could be just about as competitive and exciting as a non-disabled sport.
  2. Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann CBE FRS was a German-born British neurologist who set up the Paralympic Games in England. The Jewish doctor, who had escaped Nazi Germany just before the beginning of the Second World War, is viewed as one of the founding fathers of organized physical activities for people with a disability.
  3. In September 1943, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann took responsibility for the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville. He executed his own theories on how best to treat patients who had paraplegia by presenting rehabilitation through sport. This prompted national competitions, then, at that point to the International Stoke Mandeville Games lastly the Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Games has become the third-largest sporting event in the world.
  4. Professor Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann was born on 3 July 1899, the eldest child of four, in Tost, Upper Silesia in Germany (which is presently Toszek in Poland), and brought up in the Jewish faith.
  5. Ludwig Guttmann began studying medicine at the University of Breslau in 1918 after he was turned down for military service on clinical grounds. He proceeded with his studies in Würzburg and Freiburg and accepted his Doctorate in Medicine in 1924, writing his thesis on tumors of the trachea.
  6. Having gotten back to Breslau, Ludwig Guttmann worked with Europe’s leading neurologist Professor Otfrid Foerster from 1924 to 1928.
  7. In 1928, Ludwig Guttmann was invited to begin a neurosurgical unit in Hamburg yet this post just lasted a year as Foerster requested that he get back to Breslau as his first assistant – a job Guttmann felt he was unable to decline.
  8. Ludwig Guttmann stayed in this job until 1933 when, under the Nuremberg Law, the Nazis constrained all Jews to stop practicing medicine at Aryan hospitals. Under such persecution, Guttmann became a neurologist at the Jewish Hospital in Breslau and was appointed Medical Director of the entire hospital in 1937.
  9. On 9 November 1938 (Kristallnacht), Professor Sir Guttmann provided orders that any male person entering the hospital was to be dealt with, despite the racial laws determining that Jewish doctors could just treat Jewish patients. The next morning, he needed to justify the enormous number of admissions (64 patients) to the SS and the Gestapo.
  10. Like all Jews, Ludwig Guttmann’s passport had been seized and he was not permitted to travel; notwithstanding, in December 1938 he was ordered by von Ribbentrop to travel to Lisbon, Portugal, to treat a companion of the dictator, Salazar. On his return journey, he was allowed permission to go to England for two days. He was already in contact with the British Society for the Protection of Science and Learning and was offered an award. He decided to emigrate with his wife and two children.
  11. In mid-1939, Ludwig Guttmann and his family left Germany due to the Nazi oppression of the Jews. A chance for escape emerged when the Nazis provided him with a visa and ordered him to travel to Portugal to treat a friend of the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar.
  12. Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann was planned to get back to Germany through London, where the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) arranged for him to stay in the UK. He showed up with his wife Else Samuel Guttmann and two children, a child, Dennis, and daughter, Eva aged 6 in Oxford, England, on 14 March 1939.
  13. The Guttmann family left Germany on the 14th March 1939 and went to Oxford where the family found a small house to live in. Guttmann was working at the Radcliffe Infirmary and at St Hugh’s College Military Hospital for Head Injuries.
  14. Ludwig Guttmann was a Jewish neurosurgeon who left Nazi Germany with his family in 1939. In Britain, he became director of the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, where he assisted fighters with disabilities to rehabilitate and set up the Paralympic Games.
  15. In 1943, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann was asked by the British Government to become Director of the new National Spinal Injuries Center at the Emergency Medical Services Hospital at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire. At the point when the middle opened on 1 February 1944, Guttmann has delegated its director (a position he held until 1966). He acknowledged the post depending on the condition that he could treat patients in his own specific manner with no interference.
  16. The new Spinal Injuries Unit was opened at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in February 1944 with Dr. Ludwig Guttmann in charge. It had 24 beds and one patient. It was at first ineffectively resourced yet the medical need was clear; within a half year, Guttmann had almost 50 patients.
  17. As director of the UK’s first specialist unit for treating spinal wounds, Ludwig Guttmann accepted that sport was a significant strategy for treatment for harmed military personnel assisting them with developing physical strength and self-respect.
  18. At the point when Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann began work at the Spinal Injuries Center at Stoke Mandeville, life expectancy for paraplegics was just two years from the time of injury. Guttmann wouldn’t acknowledge that a spinal injury was a death sentence, and his advancements in the treatment of paraplegia have reformed the field.
  19. Professor Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann impacted and taught an entire generation of doctors from everywhere the world in his strategies, and centres were set up around the world (including those named after him for Barcelona, Heidelberg, and Israel).
  20. At the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Ludwig Guttmann attempted new techniques to treat patients with spinal wounds and paralysis sustained in the war. The exercise was used as a therapy to assist the patients with developing strong upper bodies, as they couldn’t walk. Patients were exposed to a grueling regime of competitive activity, intended to make them mentally as well as physically strong.
  21. Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann watched wheelchair patients use walking sticks to play with a ball and devised a game called wheelchair polo. The players suffered serious wounds most of the times they played, so didn’t play the game for long. Then, at that point, Guttmann attempted archery and netball as sports for disabled veterans in wheelchairs. They were an incredible accomplishment as the men at the spinal injuries hospital had the option to practice these sports regularly.
  22. On the same day as the Olympics opened in London in 1948, the first Stoke Mandeville Games were held. In 1960 the Olympics were held in Rome, and Goodman masterminded wheelchair athletes to contend in a ‘parallel’ Olympics. The name was abbreviated to the Paralympics, and presently competitors with a wide range of disabilities represent their country every four years.
  23. Professor Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann became a naturalized resident of the United Kingdom in 1945. He coordinated the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled persons on 29 July 1948, that same day as the beginning of the London 1948 Summer Olympics. Guttmann utilized the term paraplegic games for national games held to urge his patients to partake. This came to be known as the “Paralympics”, which just later became the “Parallel Games” and included different disabilities.
  24. As “Neurological Surgeon in charge of the Spinal Injuries Centre at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital, Stoke Mandeville”, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1950 King’s Birthday Honors. On 28 June 1957, he was made an Associate Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint John.
  25. At the 1956 International Stoke Mandeville Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Guttmann the Sir Thomas Fearnley Cup for his support of the Olympic movement through the social and human worth derived from wheelchair sports.
  26. Sir Ludwig Guttmann’s vision of international games what might be compared to the Olympic Games themselves was acknowledged in 1960 when the International Stoke Mandeville Games were held close by the official 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.
  27. Referred to at the time as the ninth Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games, and organized with the help of the World Federation of Ex-servicemen (an International Working Group on Sport for the Disabled), they are presently perceived as the first Paralympic Games. (The term “Paralympic Games” was wikt:retroactively applied by the International Olympic Committee in 1984.)
  28. In 1961, Sir Ludwig Guttmann established the British Sports Association for the Disabled which would later become known as the English Federation of Disability Sport. Around the same year, he became the inaugural President of the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (presently the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS)).
  29. Professor Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann became the first editor of the journal, Paraplegia (presently named Spinal Cord). He retired from clinical work in 1966 however proceeded with his contribution to the sport.
  30. Following his retirement from the Spinal Injuries Center in 1966, Sir Ludwig Guttmann kept on being intensely engaged with the Games and the national and international organizations, the two sports and medical. That year he was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen, becoming Sir Ludwig Guttmann.
  31. In 1969, following raising funds to take care of the expense of the building works, a new sports centre was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on the Stoke Mandeville Hospital grounds, later renamed ‘Ludwig Guttmann Sports Center for the Disabled’ after his death.
  32. As well as his involvement with the Games, Sir Ludwig Guttmann proceeded to travel and lecture on spinal injuries everywhere in the world, proceeding to teach and impact others with his theories and methods. Nonetheless, it was his leadership of the disabled sports organizations that involved him through the late 1960s and 1970s.
  33. It was during the 1970s that Ludwig Guttmann spear-headed the discussions with the International Olympic Committee about the utilization of the term ‘Olympic’ and the name of the different associations – discussions that directly led the way to the close relationship with the IOC and the later foundation of the International Paralympic Committee.
  34. Professor Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann died on the 18th March 1980 of heart failure following a heart attack a few months prior. Ludwig Guttmann didn’t live to see his vision recognized, yet his work proceeds through the current disabled sports associations and through the National Spinal Injuries Center at Stoke Mandeville, which keeps on being a world leader in the treatment of spinal injuries.
  35. 45 years on the terminology may have changed however the core message stays as before. That statement of the plan was first revealed for the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1953; it hung in the new sports stadium when it opened in 1969, and afterward in the archery room at the hospital.
  36. Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann was known as “The father of the Paralympic movement”; he was the pioneer who demonstrated that disabled sport could be pretty much as competitive and exciting as a non-disabled sport. It was Sir Ludwig Guttmann’s drive and assurance for debilitated athletes and women to be included in the Olympics that gives us the Paralympic Games today.
  37. The London 2012 Paralympic Games showed how close the world must Guttmann’s vision with the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games being organized in tandem. In any case, there is as yet the best approach to see the two events consolidated into one sporting event where disabled athletes contend close by their non-disabled counterparts.
  38. Because of Sir Ludwig Guttmann’s dedication and persistence in serving paraplegics, the abilities and accomplishments of Paralympic athletes are unending today. The Paralympics are as yet a notable event in the UK and attract numerous athletes and observers to the arena.
  39. Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the National Center for Disability Sport in the United Kingdom, was created by him close by the hospital. A specialist neurorehabilitation hospital in Barcelona, the Institut Guttmann [es], is named in his honor.
  40. In June 2012, a statue of Ludwig Guttmann was divulged at Stoke Mandeville as part of the approach to the London 2012 Summer Paralympics and Olympic Games. Guttmann’s daughter, Eva Loeffler, was selected as the mayor of the London 2012 Paralympic Games athletes’ village.
  41. In August 2012, the BBC broadcast The Best of Men, a TV film about Guttmann’s work at Stoke Mandeville during and after the Second World War. The film, composed by Lucy Gannon, featured Eddie Marsan as Dr. Guttmann and Rob Brydon as one of the seriously injured patients, who were given a reason in life by the doctor.
  42. The Sir Ludwig Guttmann Center is an NHS office giving GP, Orthopedic and Sports and Exercise Medicine outpatient services as well as imaging on the site of the 2012 Olympic village.
  43. The Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lectureship was set up by the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (presently ISCoS) to perceive Guttmann’s pioneering work and lifelong contribution to spinal cord care.
  44. In 2019 the National Paralympic Heritage Center, a small accessible museum, was opened at Stoke Mandeville Stadium celebrating the birthplace of the Paralympics, sharing the collections of the early Paralympic Movement and the central role played by Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann.
  45. On July 3, 2021, Google showed Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Ludwig Guttmann’s 122nd Birthday. Google Doodle was shown by Baltimore-based guest artist Ashanti Fortson.
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