The Origins Of The Paralympic Movement In Australia
“Competitive and team sports provide a physical and psychological stimulus far more profitable than routine remedial exercises. Not only do these activities develop and strengthen the body musculature and promote spontaneous coordinated movements, but also of equal importance they recreate the sense of comradeship and normal human association and help to eliminate any self-consciousness suffered by patients in relation to their disabilities.” Sir George Bedbrook.
After graduating in medicine, Dr George Bedbrook travelled to England to specialise in orthopaedics. It is here he was tutored by Dr Ludwig Guttmann – the founder of the Paralympic movement.
PBF’s Founder, Sir George Bedbrook, has a legendary list of achievements:
- Established hospital sports days (active rehabilitation with a sporting focus)
- In 1957 led Australia’s first international disability sport team to the Stoke Mandeville Games in England
- In 1960 facilitated the attendance of the Australian Team at the first Paralympic Games in Rome
- In 1962 was awarded the OBE for his contribution to the success of the first Games in Perth
- In 1964 led the Australian Team to their second Paralympics
- Played a central role in the establishment of International Games for people with a disability, and supported holding the Paralympic Games in the city hosting the Olympic Games
- Responsible for the formation of the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
- Founding member of the International Co-ordination Committee of World Sports Organizations for the Disabled (ICC) – from 1989 known as the International Paralympic Committee
Whilst Sir George Bedbrook received many accolades for his medical work, his role in developing Paralympic sport has opened the doors to generations of exceptional athletes and positively affected the wider Australian community.
One of PBF’s presenters is Nigel Barley, a Paralympic Silver Medalist. Unbeaten in 7 years at the National Hand-Cycling Championships, Nigel Barley won a Silver Medal in the hand-cycling time trial at the London Paralympic Games in 2012. It was the first Paralympic medal Australia had ever won in hand-cycling.
For more information on PBF’s Presenters please click here.
Reference – www.paralympic.org.au/athletes/australian-paralympic-hall-of-fame/