With the paralympics due to start in a couple of weeks, the radio and television are once again filled with stories of athletes who have gone further than anyone for their sport and pioneering developments. Well a radio 2 program caught my attention the other, talking about the efforts of Ludwig Guttmann. A doctor who fled to England with the rise of the Nazis as he was Jewish and denied the right to practice on regular patients as he was German. Ludwig was allowed to treat the paraplegics, those patients who were hidden away in shame and whose condition was managed to ensure they died as comfortably as possible. No one expected them to live, to recover and to live a normal life. But Guttmann changed all that. He revolutionised the treatments of paraplegics, refusing to let then give up and accept defeat, making them strong so they could live again.
Well the BBC2 feature length program, The Best of Men, was a hilarious story with a really serious message. It ends on a lovely note with him starting the first paralymic games event in the grounds of the hospital. And just look where we are now. Over 500 athletes from over 100 countries will be performing in the coming weeks. We aren't ashamed of people with disabilities, we celebrate their incredible achievements. But it would never be happening if it wasn't for that remarkable man.