Year after year the number of participants at the Stoke Mandeville Games, and the sports on offer, grew as word spread among the different spinal hospitals around the country.
'"If ever I did one good thing in my medical career it was to introduce sport into the treatment and rehabilitation programme of spinal cord sufferers and other severely disabled."'Guttmann, in Scruton, ‘Stoke Mandeville, Road to Paralympics’. The Peterhouse Press, 1998
But Guttmann also wanted competitors from overseas and, in 1952, he got his wish.
The Medical Director of the Military Rehabilitation Centre in Doorn, Holland, asked Guttmann if he could send a team of war veterans to compete at Stoke, and Guttmann agreed. In 1953 a team arrived from Canada. By 1954 there were Australians and Finns, Egyptians and Israelis. And so it went on. (Scruton, ‘Stoke Mandeville, Road to Paralympics’. The Peterhouse Press, 1998).
They came for the International Stoke Mandeville Games which would take place every July.
They were the forerunner to today’s Paralympic Games.