Achievements and Honours

Arthroscopy is Dr. Jackson’s major clinical work, for which he is internationally renowned. He introduced the technique of arthroscopy to the western world in 1965, and has devoted significant time to teaching the technique around the world.

He was a founding member of the International Arthroscopy Association, and later the President of that association. In 1989, he was also elected President of the Arthroscopy Association of North America.

The development of arthroscopic surgery is probably one of the most significant advances in orthopaedic surgery in this century. The success of arthroscopic surgery, was the catalyst for a true revolution in orthopaedic surgery, which has subsequently engaged all branches of surgery, and is called minimally invasive surgery.

He was honored by Sports Illustrated in 1994, being named as one of 40 individuals who had the most impact on sports, during the 40 years of publication of the magazine.

In 1997, Dr. Jackson was both appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada, and also presented with the Olympic Order, the highest order given by the International Olympic Committee. These significant honours were bestowed for “the development of arthroscopic surgery, which radically changed the treatment of athletic injuries around the world, and for the promotion and development of sport for the physically handicapped at the international level.”

He was the team physician for the professional Toronto Argonaut Football Club from 1976 to 1991 and worked with the professional Dallas Mavericks Basketball organization from 1992-1995.

In 2001, he was the recipient of the “Mr. Sports Medicine” award, given by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine in recognition of his contributions as a consultant to the design and development of a new hospital for sports injuries in Madrid.

In 2005, he was inducted into the “Hall of Fame” of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

Dr. Jackson’s major interest outside of medicine has centered on the physical abilities of disabled individuals. He was the founder and first President of the Wheelchair Sports Association of Canada in 1967 and in 1968 took the first Canadian wheelchair team to the International Paraplegic Games in Tel Aviv.

In 1976, he organized the First Olympiad for the Physically Disabled to be held in North America, combining paraplegic, amputee, and blind athletes from around the world, in one major sporting event. For these efforts he received recognition from the Province of Ontario, the Rehabilitation Council for the Disabled, and the City of Toronto presented him with the prestigious Civic Award of Merit.

In 1980, he became President of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation, the governing body for all wheelchair sport in the world. He was responsible for the inclusion of wheelchair racing (1500m for men, 800m for women) in the Los Angeles Olympics, and the inclusion of blind and amputee skiers in the Winter Olympics. This occurred through negotiations with Juan Samaranch ,then President of the International Olympic Committee. These events became a regular feature of the Olympic Winter & Summer games, for several years.

He also helped create the administrative structure for the present International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the national organizations in each member country.

In 1984, the Olympic Year in Los Angeles, Dr. Jackson was named the "Executive of the Year in Amateur Sports", an award given by Air Canada to the individual who has done most for his sport in that year. He was also awarded the Donald King Memorial Trophy as "Volunteer of the Year", from the Sports Federation of Canada. Subsequently, an award has been presented annually to the Canadian disabled athlete of the year, which is called the Dr. Robert Jackson Award.

His interest in sports medicine applied not only to the disabled athlete, but also to the able-bodied athlete. He has been closely involved at the Olympic level, not only with athletes, but with the organization of Olympic events such as the (failed) Toronto bid for the 1996 Olympic Games.

In 2001 he was inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was awarded the Paralympic Order (in the Builder Category) by the International Paralympic Committee