Before a car accident left him paralyzed in 1940, Stan Stronge was a versatile all-round athlete who competed in swimming, basketball, baseball, and soccer. He credited his fellow athletes with his recovery, helping him become active in sports once again. He led BC’s athletes with a disability to many national and international competitions, giving back a share of his courage and determination. Stronge was honoured with the Order of Canada in 1981.
Stronge began as a goalkeeper in the West Vancouver Sunday School League in 1923. He later played Pacific Coast League soccer with St. Andrews from 1929-31, helped Nanaimo City to the 1932 provincial championship, and won the 1935 provincial championship with St. Saviours. Stronge won the 1936 Canadian championship with the Westminster Royals.
Besides the above teams, he also played for the Radials, North Shore United, Vancouver Police, and BC Electric. Stronge was once offered a tryout with Aston Villa of the English First Division, but declined. He represented BC nine times against British touring teams and played with the Canadian All-Stars in 1935 and 1937-39.
After his accident in 1940, he turned to disabled sports and in 1950, he organized and played on Vancouver’s first wheelchair basketball team, the Vancouver Dueck Powerglides.
Stronge was the co-founder of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Association in 1967. He was also the principle organizer of BC’s entry of a wheelchair team into the 1967 Pan American Games and did the same for international events in subsequent years until his retirement.
He coached and managed numerous paralympic swimmers to an international level of competition. The Stan Stronge rehabilitation pool at Pearson Hospital was named in his honour by Premier Bennett in 1980.