WHEELCHAIR CHAMPIONS: A History of Wheelchair Sports by Harriet May Savitz

WHEELCHAIR CHAMPIONS: A History of Wheelchair Sports

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Not sports but the rehabilitation and rights of the handicapped power this history of wheelchair competition--which reads, further to its detriment, like nothing so much as an annual report, tallying successes, giving due credit, soliciting approbation and support. Certainly both are warranted: the growth of wheelchair sports since WW II medical advances dramatically increased the number of paraplegics and quadriplegics--here chronicled decade by decade--has not only enhanced the lives of the participants, it has, as Savitz notes, made the able-bodied aware of the capacities and determination of the disabled. But The Lionhearted (1975) and her two earlier novels are more effective bearers of this dual message than the present record of accomplishment. The very occasional vivid moment--a quadriplegic who can't move his hands or arms holding a table-tennis paddle by his teeth, or, conversely, unprepared Japanese basketball players tumbling over in their wheelchairs--is surrounded by fulsome, unindividuated tributes to ""superstars,"" promoters, and ""helpers."" The few, widely spaced photos fail to exploit the pictorial possibilities (we especially wanted to see Bill and Sharon Meyers' wheelchair-sports-equipped home) or to break up the long, chronological chapters. A persistent reader will learn that wheelchair athletes can be shot putters, archers, track stars; but whether any but the handicapped will persevere is questionable.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1978
ISBN: 0595385222
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell