BLOG: ISCoS the myth, the legend, the community

Community is a big part of being an ISCoS member

You may have seen some of the activity on social media recently. We have been celebrating the ISCoS community. Firstly, this Society is reaching the milestone of 60 years. We have been reminiscing and sharing our top highlights from ISCoS Conferences past. You'll find lots of amazing photos on our social media channels, come and join in.

And secondly, we closed our abstract submissions on April 18th with a record amount of abstracts submitted. Even during a pandemic, one that has lasted longer than any of us wanted or expected it to. The ISCoS community has pulled together to share their knowledge and research, which is a testament to this community's care, passion, and determination.

As I reminisced and celebrated over the past few days, I wondered how much we all know of ISCoS and its origin story?

The ISCoS Timeline - Some facts:

  • In 1944 Dr Guttmann founded The Spinal Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital
  • As part of the British National Health Service (NHS) the unit became the National Spinal Injuries Centre in 1952
  • The Paralympics started with ISCoS: In 1948 the National Stoke Mandeville Games was founded, becoming the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1952 and then the Paralympics in 1960!
  • ISCoS was then known as the International Medical Society of Paraplegia, founded in 1961 with Sir Ludwig Guttmann as President.
  • In the early years, the Annual Scientific Meetings were held at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, except in Olympic years when they were held in association with the Paralympics.
  • There have been 17 ISCoS Presidents to date, with Prof Ruth Marshall as the current President.
  • 60 annual meetings held in 27 countries, across 38 cities and one fully virtual conference
  • In 1981 the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lecture was established to recognize the pioneering work and lifelong contribution of Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the originator of modern multidisciplinary spinal cord care.

That is quite a history, and it reinforces why I love being a member of ISCoS.

I wonder what the next 60 years will hold for this society and what advancements we will have made within the SCI field when we reflect on the history of ISCoS in 2081!
Happy 60th Anniversary ISCoS and roll on ISCoS2021!


Jennifer - ISCoS Communications Social Media Lead



Where to find us

National Spinal Injuries Centre,
Stoke Mandeville Hospital,
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire,
HP21 8AL, United Kingdom

How to contact us

Tel: +44 1296 315 866


Contact ISCoS Headquarters for Application forms, copies of the Constitution and Bye-Laws of the Society, queries on the journal delivery and information on Scientific Meetings.

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