August 31, 2010

Long-time Stamps doctor passes away

Dr. Vince Murphy, who was associated with the Calgary Stampeders for more than a half-century, passed away on Aug. 23. He was 87.

Dr. Murphy’s association with the Stampeders began in 1957 and, two years later, then-general manager Jim Finks decided a physician should accompany the team and be on the sidelines for every game.MurphyVincent.jpg

Stampeders director of medical services Pat Clayton knew Dr. Murphy for more than 40 years and called his long-time colleague one of the pioneers of Canadian sports medicine.

“He really set the standard for the care of athletes throughout the country, not just in Calgary,” said Clayton. “He touched an awful lot of people. When he went into semi-retirement, he was the longest-acting team physician in all of pro sport. That gives you an indication of the dedication the man had, not only to his patients, but to this franchise. He was much more than just a team physician to us — he was a dear friend.

“Vince’s demeanour, the way in which he handled the players, was always very positive. I remember countless occasions where somebody would be quite distraught about their injury and Vince just brought them down to an even keel. That’s the kind of person he was. He was terrific person to be around and we’re going to miss him dearly.”

Dr. Murphy was born in Castor, Alberta, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 and went overseas as a qualified navigator in 1943. He survived when his plane was shot down on June 23, 1944, but his pilot and rear gunner were killed. A week later, he was captured by the Germans and was a prisoner of war until rescued by Allied armies in January 1945.

He returned to Canada and went to medical school, finishing in 1953. He took graduate training at the Mayo Clinic from 1953-57 when he returned here to join the Calgary Associate Clinic.

He was added to the Stampeders’ Wall of Fame in 2006.