Pistorius's disability takes centre stage

Prof Wayne Derman says Pistorius's disability plays a crucial part in his reaction to danger.

Oscar Pistorius at the High Court in Pretoria on 30 June 2014 after spending 30 days under psychiatric observation to determine if he should be held criminally responsible for killing Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Oscar Pistorius's disability and his training as an athlete to react to loud sounds have been given as reasons for approaching perceived danger at his home last year, when he shot his girlfriend.

Sports medical practitioner Professor Wayne Derman, who has treated Pistorius as a patient, says the 'blade runner' went into 'fight or flight' mode on Valentine's Day, when he thought his life was in danger.

Pistorius is on trial for killing Reeva Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at the SA Sports Awards on 4 November 2012. Picture: AFP.

Derman says Pistorius's disability plays a large role in the decisions he made last year, before killing Steenkamp.

Derman says Pistorius is anxious and hyper-vigilant and went into a 'fight' mode when he was startled by the sound of a window opening.

He says the athlete will react immediately to a sound, as he is trained to start running when he hears a gunshot.

Derman says Pistorius had no choice but to approach the danger because fleeing wasn't an option, as he was on his stumps and unable to run without his prosthetic legs.

Watch: Pistorius trial: 'Disability never sleeps'

The state wants to consult with the psychiatrist who evaluated Pistorius about the psychological aspects that Derman has referred to before continuing with cross examination on Monday.

For live audio and updates from the trial, go to EWN's live blog and for more background, visit EWN's Oscar Pistorius portal.