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Service spotlight: Nancy Quinn – para sport physiotherapy pioneer turned researcher
  1. Miriam Lewis1,
  2. Christopher Napier2
  1. 1 Canadian Sport Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2 Department of Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University Faculty of Science, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher Napier, Department of Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University Faculty of Science, Burnaby V5A 1S6, Canada; cnapier{at}

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Introduction to para sport

When Nancy Quinn graduated as a physiotherapist from Queens University in 1987, she never imagined working in sport, much less para sport. In the early days of her career, she had the opportunity to work for sport physiotherapist Doug Freer, igniting her interest in sport and leading her to complete her Sport Physiotherapy Canada diploma in 1993. Her interest grew into a passion to assist athletes on their road to good health, strong performances, and successful careers. In 1995, Nancy attended her first major games as a member of the Health Sciences Team for Team Canada at the Pan Am Games, followed by the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. And so began a more than 25-year commitment to sporting access and opportunity for Canadian athletes who have a disability.

Interest in para sport

Nancy describes her time at the 1996 Paralympic Games as a ‘transformational experience’. She learnt that athletes with an impairment or disability do not need to be ‘fixed’; they require the same from physiotherapists as any other athlete—help to maintain their physical conditioning, maximise their experience, and, hopefully, improve their performance. She developed an understanding that we should not limit our assumptions of what the athletic body should look like or what bodies that have differences are capable of.

Along with this new understanding and …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. Figure 1 has been replaced and copyright added.

  • Contributors ML and CN conceived the idea. ML wrote the first draft. Both ML and CN revised and approved all subsequent drafts.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.