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Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann: Google Doodle celebrates German-British neurologist and Paralympic Games founder’s 122nd birthday

Google Doodle celebrates the 122nd birthday of Jewish, German-British neurologist Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann, who founded the Paralympic Games in England, on July 3, 2021.

Who was Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann?

Professor Sir Ludwig Poppa Guttmann
Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann

Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann was born on 3 July 1899 to a German-Jewish family in Tost, within what was then German-controlled Upper Silesia and is currently Toszek in Poland. A Jewish doctor, who had escaped Nazi Germany just before the beginning of the Second World War, he is viewed as one of the founding fathers of organised physical activities for people with a disability.

When Ludwig Guttmann was three years of age, his family moved to the Silesian city of Königshütte (today Chorzów, Poland) where he passed his Abitur at the humanistic grammar school in 1917 preceding he was called up for military service.

Guttmann began his medical studies in April 1918 at the University of Breslau. He moved to the University of Freiburg in 1919 and accepted his Doctorate of Medicine in 1924.

Ludwig Guttmann acquired a medical degree from the University of Freiburg in 1924 and in this manner became a leading neurosurgeon.

By 1933, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann was working in Breslau (presently Wrocław, Poland) as a neurosurgeon and lecturing at the university. Guttmann studied from the pioneer of neurosurgery Otfrid Foerster at his research institute.

In mid 1939, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann and his family left Germany in view of the Nazi oppression of the Jews. A chance for get away from had come when the Nazis gave him a visa and ordered him to travel to Portugal to treat a companion of the Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar. With the ascent of the Nazis, Guttmann, who was Jewish, left Germany in 1939 and moved to England.

Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann became a naturalized British resident in 1945. He organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled war veterans, which was held at the hospital on 29 July 1948, that same day as the launch of the London Olympics. All members had spinal cord injuries and contended in wheelchairs. With an effort to urge his patients to participate in national events, Guttmann utilized the term Paraplegic Games. These came to be known as the “Paralympic Games”, which later became the “Parallel Games” and developed to incorporate different disabilities.

In 1944, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann became top of the National Spinal Injuries Center at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, where he stayed until he retired in 1966.

Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann championed the idea of early treatment for harmed servicemen in specific spinal units and advanced the utilization of compulsory sport and physical activities as a type of restoration, coordination, and inspiration. To this end, he coordinated a archery contest between 16 disabled patients, and the event was held on July 29, 1948, which corresponded with the kickoff of the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann coordinated a 16-person archery contest, one of the first official competitive sporting events for wheelchair clients. Later called the “Stoke Mandeville Games” or the “Olympics for the Disabled,” the competition showed the power of world class game to separate obstructions for disability and collected the consideration of global medical and sporting communities.

The next year more events and participants were included, and the opposition was named the Stoke Mandeville Games. The event became international in 1952, and that year Ludwig Guttmann helped tracked down the International Stoke Mandeville Games Committee. (The association consequently went through a few name changes prior to converging with the International Sports Organization for the Disabled [ISOD] in 2004 to become the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation.)

At the 1956 Stoke Mandeville Games, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann was awarded the Sir Thomas Fearnley Cup by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his exemplary accomplishment in support of the Olympic development through the social and human worth got from wheelchair sports.

In 1960, the Stoke Mandeville Games were held in Rome, which had hosted the Olympic Games several weeks earlier. The event, including in excess of 400 athletes from 23 countries, became known as the first Paralympic Games. The Paralympics in this manner became a quadrennial event, organized around the same time as the Olympics. The first Paralympic Winter Games continued in 1976, in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann likewise established the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (later known as the International Spinal Cord Society) in 1961 and served as its first president (1961–70). That year he additionally settled the British Sports Association for the Disabled.

In 1961, Ludwig Guttmann established the British Sports Association for the Disabled, which would later became known as the English Federation of Disability Sport.

From 1968 to 1979, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann served as president of ISOD. Guttman was the recipient of various honors and praises, and he was knighted in 1966.

In 1961, Ludwig Guttmann established the International Medical Society of Paraplegia, presently the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS); he was the inaugural president of the society, a position that he held until 1970.

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 with sport.

He got various awards for his contribution, the highest among which was being knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1966.

Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann suffered a heart attack in October 1979, and died on 18 March 1980 at 80 years old.

Today, Paralympic athletes are legitimately perceived for their skills and achievements. The Paralympic Games keep on being a driving force for promoting the rights and independence of people with disabilities, with a lasting effect on equivalent treatment and opportunity.

On July 3, 2021, Google featured Doodle on its homepage for celebrating Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann’s 122nd Birthday. Today’s Google Doodle is represented by Baltimore-based guest artist Ashanti Fortson.

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