Vale Paralympic pioneer Dr. John Grant11.11.2013
The Paralympic Movement in Australia has lost one of its pioneers, with the passing of Dr. John Grant.
“He was a pioneer of our movement in Australia and contributed enormously to the growth and development of Paralympic sport in Asia and Oceania.”
As President of the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee, Dr. Grant oversaw the planning and delivery of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, which is widely attributed with raising the standing of Paralympic sport internationally and changing public perceptions of disability. Grant was 90 years old.
“Dr. John Grant was a stalwart of the Paralympic Movement,” said the President of the Australian Paralympic Committee, Greg Hartung.
“He chaired the organising committee for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and continued his interest in and support for Paralympic sport right to the end of his life.
“He will be sadly missed by all of us.”
In the 1950's and 1960's, Grant played a key role in the establishment of Paralympic sport in New South Wales through his work as a neurosurgeon at Royal North Shore Hospital and Mt Wilga Rehabilitation Hospital in Sydney.
Having witnessed first-hand the revolutionary work of Sir Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Great Britain, where sport was being used as a rehabilitation tool for people with spinal injuries, Grant introduced similar programmes in New South Wales and was instrumental in the organising of the first Royal North Shore Hospital Games for spinal injury patients.
Grant also co-founded the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of New South Wales, the sports committee of which now operates as Wheelchair Sports NSW. He played a key role in establishing the Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled, which was an important regional stepping stone for athletes aiming to compete at the Paralympic Games.
“He was a pioneer of our movement in Australia and contributed enormously to the growth and development of Paralympic sport in Asia and Oceania,” said Hartung.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”