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Paralysis. Life.
Each day, some people wake up having to think about both.

Our website is not what it should be! We are experiencing severe technical difficulties and are busy behind the scenes trying to recover it, but it may take time. Please contact patricia.tweed@smsr.org.uk if you'd like to get in touch, and many apologies for the lack of content in our site.

That’s why, each day, Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research does the same, thinking long and hard about how we can make life livable for people with spinal cord injury. With new medical breakthroughs, technological innovation and social insight – and your generous support – we can do more to help people get on with life after paralysis.

View our video here

Why we do what we do

Life after paralysis.
Together, we make it easier

Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research brings together the spinally injured, carers, healthcare professionals and researchers to:

As a charity, we can’t do it alone. We work closely with the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and other spinal centres. And with you, through the generosity of your donation.

Please continue to do so, because your support helps people see there’s life after paralysis.

A little bit of history

Founded in 2006, Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research is a national charity that promotes excellence and sustainability in applied clinical research into spinal cord injury. Motivated by the needs of people in the National Spinal Injuries Centre, our vision is to enable people with spinal cord injury to have life after paralysis without the setbacks of debilitating health complications.

Dr Ludwig Guttmann & the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville

Ludwig Guttmann first came across spinal cord injury when he was volunteering as a medic in Germany in 1917. He went on to study medicine in 1918, and by 1933 was considered the top neurosurgeon in Germany.

In early 1939, he left Germany because of the Nazi persecution of Jews, and was able to settle in Oxford, where he continued his research into spinal cord injury at the Radcliffe Infirmary.

In September 1943, the British government asked Dr Guttmann to establish the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. When the centre opened on 1 February 1944, Guttmann was appointed Director (a position he held until 1966). He believed sport played a significant role in helping injured military personnel to build up physical strength and self-respect.

Guttmann went on to organise the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled personnel on 28 July 1948, the same day as the start of the London 1948 Summer Olympics. Dr. Guttmann used the term paraplegic games in order to encourage his patients to take part – which later became known as the Paralympics – and subsequently took the form of the parallel games to the Olympics, to include other disabilities.

Our credentials and governance

Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and governed by a Board of Trustees that oversees our charitable aims. In addition we are a member of the Institute of Fundraising. The trustees meet regularly to discuss and review our reports and updates from our team. Our trustees work for SMSR voluntarily and provide a wealth of experience, support and advice to the charity.

Our Ambassadors. Life with paralysis: unique stories

Here are some of the people who have experienced a major change in their life, adapted to it and made a success of it. Their stories are an inspiration to us, and hopefully to you.