‘Johnno’ Johnston was a key figure in the development of Paralympic sport

At Shenton Park, Royal Perth Hospital, George Bedbrook gathered a talented and committed staff including John (Johnno) Johnston, an ex-army fitness instructor, who worked as a physiotherapist and became a crucial figure in disability sport. Johnston created a pulley system for patients in bed and a small gymnasium where they trained on a weights circuit and climbed ropes to develop upper body strength. According to Bedbrook’s family, Johnston was the ‘enforcer’ while Bedbrook was the ‘front man’ as they worked in unison to promote active rehabilitation for all patients. Important as remedial exercises were to rehabilitation, Bedbrook and Johnston prioritised sport for all it offered to patients with spinal cord injury.