An inspiring and enlightening conversation with author David Davis about an unforgettable tale of defying the odds and finding hope out of the carnage of World War II.
Join us for a webinar about a book that has received great press and even better reviews, Wheels of Courage: How Paralyzed Veterans from World War II Invented Wheelchair Sports, Fought for Disability Rights, and Inspired a Nation. Wheels of Courage tells the stirring story of the soldiers, sailors, and marines who were paralyzed on the battlefield during World War II—only to return to a world unused to dealing with their traumatic injuries. Doctors considered paraplegics to be "dead-enders" and "no-hopers," with the life expectancy of about a year. Societal stigma was so ingrained that playing sports was considered out-of-bounds for so-called "crippled bodies."
But servicemen, many of whom form the basis of Davis’s book, refused to waste away in their hospital beds. Thanks to medical advances and the dedication of innovative physicians and rehabilitation coaches, they asserted their right to a life without limitations. The paralyzed veterans formed the first wheelchair basketball teams, and soon were barnstorming the nation and filling arenas with cheering, incredulous fans. The wounded-warriors-turned-playmakers were joined by their British counterparts, led by the indomitable Dr. Ludwig Guttmann. Together, they triggered the birth of the Paralympic Games and opened the gymnasium doors to those with other disabilities, including survivors of the polio epidemic in the 1950s.
David Davis is the author and/or editor of six books and has spent his career in journalism with his work being published in LA Weekly newspaper, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, SB Nation, Deadspin, and Vice, among others. Davis has also been anthologized in "The Best American Sports Writing" series.