Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a German-born neurologist, is considered to be one of the founding fathers of organised physical activities for the disabled and is credited as the man who founded the Paralympic Games.
As director of the National Spinal Injuries Centre at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Guttmann was convinced that sport was an excellent method of therapy for those with a physical disability as sport helps to build physical strength and self-respect.
Guttmann decided to create a competitive sporting environment for those with a physical disability to participate in and on July 29th 1948, he organised a sports competition for British World War II veteran patients with spinal cord injuries. The start of these Stoke Mandeville Games was organised to coincide with the opening of the London 1948 Summer Olympics.
The Games were held again at the same location in 1952 and this time Dutch veterans took part alongside the British, making it the first international competition of its kind. The Stoke Mandeville 1952 Games saw over 130 international competitors take part.
By 1960, the Games had become a highly important event and left Stoke Mandeville for the first time. The 1960 Games were held in Rome following the Rome Olympic Games. Although the Games were still officially known as the Stoke Mandeville Games, the 1960 Games are considered to be the first of the Paralympic Games.
The only disability that was included in the Rome 1960 Paralympics was spinal cord injury.
Hosts Italy topped the first ever Paralympic medal table ahead of Great Britain and West Germany.
Date Games were held: September 18-25
Number of nations represented: 23
Number of competitors: 400
Number of medals awarded: 291