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Vying for victory in Paralympics but not all disabilities visible

With the Paralympics getting underway in Rio yesterday it’s a great time to reflect on the amazing achievements of the superb sports people who are competing quite often with very profound disabilities.

They deserve our adulation and praise for breaking out of the disabled stereotype and their determination to succeed at the highest level. But while so much attention is paid to these amazing athletes there will be many other people with hidden disabilities will be wishing their own invisible struggle could be recognised.

There are thousands of people who struggle with disabilities such as permanent severe pain, loss of sensation, incontinence and communication problems caused by nerve damage. They may not be wheelchair users or have any instantly identifiable sign that they are disabled but their lives may be very difficult all the same.

The JMW medical negligence team is representing numerous clients who have been affected by this issue. Conditions such as cauda equina syndrome and stroke, when not treated urgently, can lead to the invisible and distressing disabilities mentioned. In many cases sufferers are unable to work, need specialist housing and their personal relationships breakdown from the pressure. Our job as solicitors is to ensure they are able to cope financially with this fallout

These are huge, life-changing issues however from the outside it would be not be apparent. The lack of understanding that pervades can make accessing support difficult. It can be an incredibly isolating experience with little in the way of services and activities that can make such a difference to how sufferers are able to cope with the emotional distress.

While we get behind our Paralympians as they vie for victory remember the word disability is broad and that there are sadly many people suffering in silence.


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