The Paralympic Games: From a rehabilitation exercise to elite sport (and back again?)

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    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The Paralympic Games, and their forebears the Stoke Mandeville Games, grew out of the rehabilitation of spinally injured military personnel at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, UK. Even though the Paralympic Games are rooted in a rehabilitation background they are now the second largest elite multi-sport event in the world after the Olympic Games. Content: Despite this move away from a rehabilitation model to an elite sporting model programmes have recently been introduced in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA that use sport as an integral part of the rehabilitation of soldiers injured in current conflicts. These programmes are directly linked to the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of each country and in some cases these soldiers are fast-tracked into that nation's Paralympic training programmes. This paper will look at some of the reasons why disability sport and the Paralympic Games have become so important and outline the role that they play in both rebuilding lives and as a form of social (re)education. Conclusion: The growing acknowledgement of the impact of sports participation upon the psychological and physical wellbeing of people with disabilities combined with the impact of disability sport in general and the Paralympic Games in particular upon non-disabled attitudes towards disability and the increasing number of soldiers severely injured in battle have conspired to re-new the link between injured military personnel and the Paralympic Games.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)526-530
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


    • Military
    • Paralympic Games
    • Rehabilitation
    • Sport

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Rehabilitation
    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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