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Ludwig Guttmann was a nerve scientist and pioneering physiotherapist who played a significant role in the founding of the paralympics movement.


Born 3rd July 1899 in Tost, Upper Silesia.

1917: first medical job working as an orderly in Königschütte Hospital, a large accident hospital for coalminers in Upper Silesia.

c. 1918: enrolls on medical course at Breslau university

c. 1922: continues studies at Freiburg University

1923: returns to Breslau to work at the Wenzel Hancke Hospital.

1924: awarded MD with thesis on 'Tracheal Tumours'.

October 1924: appointed junior assistant in neurology department of hospital, working under Otfrid Foerster.

April 1928: begins work as neurosurgeon at the State Mental Hospital, Hamburg.

1929: returns to Breslau to work with Foerster as his First Assistant.

1933: the Nazi regime enacts laws forbidding Jewish doctors from working in public hospitals. Becomes Medical Director of the Jewish Hospital in Breslau.

c. 1938: develops 'quinizarin test' for the investigation of the neuroregulation of sweat glands.

1939: flees Nazi regime in Germany, travelling to England via Portugal.

1939: joins Hugh Cairns and Oxford group of physiologists investigating the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries.

1944: appointed Resident Medical Officer in charge of the spinal unit of the new National Spinal Injury Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury.

1945: abandons the use of plaster beds to treat spinal injuries, replacing them with pillow packs to gradually reduce spine fractures

1945: introduces method of intermittent catheterization to reduce risk of urianary tract infection in patients with spinal injuries

1948: helps organize sports event between patients at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital (Aylesbury) and the Star and Garter Home (Richmond),

1960: founds the British Sports Association for the Disabled

1961: founds the International Society of Paraplegia

1963: launches Paraplegia, the official journal of the International Society of Paraplegia

1965: develops a special bed frame to assist with turning patients to prevent bed sores.

1966: awarded knighthood

Died March 18 1980.