If not for BC’s fantastic skiing, our province may never have become home to Dr. Brian Day.
In 1973, Brian had a job waiting for him back in the UK but decided to work a year in Vancouver and ski. By his own admission, he set a still-standing record for most days skied in a single winter by a UBC orthopedic trainee—65 for those counting. Lucky for us, he stayed in Vancouver and soon became a pioneering world leader in developing and improving arthroscopic surgical techniques on athletes.
Born in Liverpool, Brian grew up in the Toxteth area where future Beatle Ringo Starr also lived. When Brian attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, two other future Beatles, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, were also at the school and he often rode the bus with them. From there, Brian studied medicine at Manchester University and played on the university’s soccer team.
In the past, arthroscopy involved inserting a little scope into a joint as a diagnostic tool. In the late 1970s, Brian became likely the first surgeon in Canada to conduct knee surgery through the scope, a far less invasive process that cut recovery time in half for athletes.
Soon many of the world’s top athletes came to him for procedures including those from the CFL, NHL, NBA, NASL, PGA, English Premier League, and Olympic medalists from Canada, US, Russia, and Australia. He even treated many celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone and Luciano Pavarotti.
Brian served as the medical officer for many provincial, national, and international sports teams and events including Canada’s Davis Cup and Federation Cup tennis teams and the Canadian Olympic team.
One of only three Canadians to serve as president of the Arthroscopy Association of North America, the world’s leading academic society in the field of arthroscopic surgery and sports injuries, Brian has lectured all over the world and is the founder of the Cambie Surgery Centre.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.