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August 23, 1976

Paraplegia and Disability

Author Affiliations

University of Minnesota Hospitals Minneapolis

JAMA. 1976;236(8):919. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270090015015

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To the Editor.—  Recently, the news media expressed concern whether severe physical disability is an illness that would disqualify a person from consideration for the presidency of the United States. Does Governor George Wallace's paraplegia constitute such an illness? Would paraplegia prevent an elected president from adequately carrying out the duties of the presidency?The Minnesota Physiatric Society found areas of disagreement with the news media's coverage and submitted a resolution to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The following statement of the Academy evolved from this resolution:The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation does not endorse political parties or candidates for political office. However, the Academy deplores presentation of the concept to the public that paraplegia, in itself, constitutes sufficient reason to deny the individual his rights to participate in community activities, including seeking public office.The Minnesota Physiatric Society believes this to be an