Who is Ludwig Guttmann, founder of the Paralympic Games honored by Google?

Who is Ludwig Guttmann, founder of the Paralympic Games honored by Google?

Google always thrills internet users with its awesome doodles, with which it pays tributes to certain characters, or reminds us of anniversaries, deaths, births, holidays and important events, but with its colorful style.

On this occasion and, on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympics, it was the turn to represent the neurologist Ludwig Guttmann‘s 122nd birthday, who, among other outstanding actions, founded the Paralympic Games in the country that gave him a second chance: England.

Despite being a renowned doctor, because of his Jewish religion he had to escape from Nazi Germany, since he was born in the region known as Toast, which at that time was dominated by the Bavarian country, but today it belongs to Poland and is called Toszek.

He was the oldest of the three brothers. His taste for the field of medicine came in 1917, when he began his work at the hospital de Koenigshütte. In those facilities, and already 18 years old, Guttmann met for the first time patients with muscle injuries that cause disabilities, which he was going to enhance in later years.

Through sport, Guttmann rehabilitated hundreds of people.
Through sport, Guttmann rehabilitated hundreds of people.

After going through various universities, such as those of Breslau and Freiburg, in which he obtained his three academic degrees, and in that of Hamburg, where he worked in a clinic, his work as a neurologist would increase since the 1930s, as the Second World War led people to present cases of motor disabilities.

In 1933 he was fired by the Nazis due to the Judaism he professed, but his fight did not end there, he went through various positions as a manager and doctor, in which he made important decisions (such as attending to Jewish people despite being prohibited) with which he challenged his superiors.

Whether due to his character or importance to the German authorities, Guttmann managed to come out healthy, in addition to saving several people from certain death, either due to illness or murder.

By 1938, he was sent to Portugal to treat the dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, but he took advantage of his return trip, and a stopover in England, to get asylum together with his wife and two children.

Already settled in that territory far from Nazism, their work to treat paraplegic people began to bear more fruit. In 1941 he released a study on the treatment and rehabilitation of spinal cord injury patients.

He cared for wounded British military personnel and gained the respect of the country that adopted him, thus obtaining English nationality in 1945.

He left a historical legacy in medicine and sports.
He left a historical legacy in medicine and sports.

From that moment on, Dr. Guttmann no longer only sought to “cure” his patients, but also he tried to bring them back to life. An insatiable search came to the point. Sport would be the most appropriate way to achieve your goal, since with the exercises you would be able to restore mobility, coordination and resistance.

With the help of tools such as canes, wheelchairs, balls and some others, he began to practice some sports disciplines with the people who were in his care. In this way, the July 29, 1948 organized the first competition with patients from other hospitals. This fair was baptized as Stoke-Mandeville International Games.

Each year he organized them and each year he obtained a new achievement, such as adding athletes, disciplines and even having the participation of people from other countries. Perhaps without knowing it, he was about to make a great leap into the history of not only medicine, but also world sport.

The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome 1960.
The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome 1960.

It was the year 1960, Ludwig Guttmann, 61, held recognition for his Stoke-Mandeville International Games, same that were made to the part of the Rome Olympics. It had the participation of 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then, the Paralympic Games have been held every four years.

During the organization of the Mexico Paralympic Games 1968, there were several problems, as the social situation in the country was not the most optimal. Given this, Guttmann supported his transfer to another country for its realization. Israel was the chosen nation.

The days of this important neurologist culminated the March 18, 1980 due to coronary thrombosis. However, he left a legacy in the books of medicine and sports, in which he is considered the founder and creator of the Paralympic Games.

Ben Oakley
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