One of the outcomes of the success of spinal units was that people with paraplegia and quadriplegia now survived their injuries and were able to be reintegrated into the community. To support them once they left the hospital environment, paraplegic and quadriplegic associations were progressively established in states with spinal units. As sport was such a major part of rehabilitation, it was inevitable that these associations played a major role in developing national sporting competitions.
The first of these was the 1960 National Paraplegic Games, held in Melbourne in March 1960.
Teams attended from Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
These Games were the selection event for the 1960 Paralympics, to be held in Rome in September that year.
To be selected for Rome, athletes had to not only excel in a single sport but had to be versatile by demonstrating prowess in a range of sports.
After these first Games, national championships that were variously referred to as the Australian Paraplegic (and Quadriplegic) Games or the National Wheelchair Games were held every two years – in Melbourne (1960, 1970), Sydney (1962, 1972), Adelaide (1964, 1973), Brisbane (1966) and Perth (1968). They were held leading up to major international games – the Paralympics and Commonwealth Paraplegic Games – and served as national selection trials.
The responsibility for selecting and organising of international sporting teams resided with the Australian Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Council (previously Australian Paraplegic Council), which was established in 1960 and then, from 1971, the Australian Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Sports Sub Committee (APQSSC).
The 1960 National Paraplegic Games were the selection event for the 1960 Paralympics, to be held in Rome in September that year.
Date: March 1960