Dr. Jack Taunton credits his work with Field Hockey Canada for getting him started on what would become a legendary sports medicine career.
Dr. Taunton has been involved with field hockey in Canada as a sport medicine doctor for over 40 years. Alongside other impactful builders, athletes and officials, he will be inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame in the Builder Category.
He considers himself fortunate to have worked as the women’s national field hockey team’s physician for about 24 years. According to Dr. Taunton, supporting the team in 1979 at the World Championships kick-started his career in sports medicine.
“Really, field hockey started me on my sports medicine career that year,” he said. “ I did the World Championships with field hockey, I went to the world’s aquatic swim championships and an outdoor meet in Berlin and I went to the world student games in Mexico City. And I guess I had done well, because they selected me, along with the recommendation of field hockey to be the chief medical officer for Caracas [Pan American Games] ahead of 84.”
Dr Taunton is no stranger to being awarded for his success. He was inducted into the B.C. Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011 and the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Dr. Taunton has a long history with sports in B.C. and not just field hockey. He is a professor of emeritus at UBC and there he taught in the Faculty of Medicine and School of Kinetics. Ever since he was young, he knew sport medicine was very important. He contracted polio at seven and was in a bike-car collision at 15 but he made a full physical recovery due to extensive physiotherapy and his passion for sports grew.
In 1971, Dr. Taunton co-founded the Lions Gate Road Runners with his wife Cheryl, in 1971. It was the first road running club in Canada. From there, they began to organize numerous races in Stanley Park, including the BMO Vancouver International marathon. In 1985, they both joined with Doug and Diane Clement, and transformed a race called the Lions Gate Eight into what is now the Vancouver Sun Run.
Dr. Taunton also founded the Allan McGavin sports medicine centre and was a medical officer for numerous Olympic Games including Barcelona 1992 and Vancouver 2010.
“It was a tremendous honour to work with men and women’s field hockey [teams] for close to 30 years,” said Dr. Taunton. “When we moved Sportsmed, Doug Clement and I started sports medicine in Richmond and then we had the opportunity to move out to UBC. We were in the field house as it were, we converted it into a sports medicine clinic 50 feet from where the World Championships were going to be in 1979 and it was the last time field hockey was played on grass.”
Dr. Taunton has countless fond memories of working with the women’s national team as they rose through the rankings in the 1980s and became one of the best teams in the world. Dr. Taunton is a dedicated professional to the sport of field hockey and without a doubt has earned the honour to be inducted into the hall of fame.