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The Sir Ludwig Guttmann lecture 2012: the contribution of Stoke Mandeville Hospital to spinal cord injuries.

Spinal Cord 2012 November
This Ludwig Guttmann Lecture was presented at the 2012 meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society in London. It describes the contribution of Stoke Mandeville Hospital to the field of spinal cord injuries. Dr Ludwig Guttmann started the Spinal Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1944 and introduced a novel, comprehensive method of care, which included early admission, prevention and treatment of spinal cord injury related complications, active rehabilitation and social reintegration. Soon a dedicated specialist team was assembled and training of visitors was encouraged, some of whom went on to start their own spinal units. Research went hand in hand with clinical work, and over the years more than 500 scientific contributions from Stoke Mandeville have been published in peer reviewed journals and books. Guttmann introduced sport as a means of physical therapy, which soon lead to organised Stoke Mandeville Games, first national in 1948, then international in 1952 and finally the Paralympic Games in 1960. Stoke Mandeville is regarded as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, and Guttmann was knighted in 1966. Stoke Mandeville is also the birthplace of the International Medical Society of Paraplegia, later International Spinal Cord Society, which was formed during the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1961, and of the Society's medical journal Paraplegia, later Spinal Cord, first published in 1963. Guttmann's followers have continued his philosophy and, with some new developments and advances, the present day National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary acute care, rehabilitation and life-long follow-up for patient with spinal cord injuries of all ages.

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