Paralympics Australia have hailed the recognition of surgeon Sir George Bedbrook by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame ©Getty Images

Australian Paralympic pioneer Sir George Bedbrook has been posthumously inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as one of nine sporting heroes honoured in the 2022 intake.

"The Australian Paralympic Movement owes its origins and its ongoing success to pioneering orthopaedic surgeon and rehabilitation specialist Sir George Bedbrook," the citation said.

"Having championed the importance of combining rehabilitation with a competitive edge to assist patients both physically and psychologically, he helped to establish the Australian Paralympic Movement as a result."

His "revolutionary" contribution to the movement was hailed by the Australian Paralympic Committee.

"Through his medical and administrative expertise, his humanity and sheer determination, Sir George established Australia’s first spinal injury unit and realised the potential of using sport to aid rehabilitation," said Paralympics Australia chief executive Catherine Clark.

"It paved the way for our nation’s participation at the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 in which Sir George played a key role and set in motion the journey towards the wonderfully diverse and inclusive Paralympic Movement we treasure today," she added.

Bedbrook, an orthopaedic surgeon and specialist in spinal injuries rehabilitation, drew inspiration from a meeting with Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the surgeon who founded Games at Stoke Mandeville in England as a means of encouraging those with serious spinal injuries to participate in sport.

In 1954, Bedbrook had founded Australia’s first spinal injuries unit at Shenton Park, a municipality on the outskirts of Perth in Western Australia. 

"If a life is worth saving, it must be given the opportunity to be worth living," Bedbrook had said.

Bedbrook led an Australian team to Stoke Mandeville in 1957 and was a key figure in taking an Australian team to the 1960 International Games in Rome, subsequently designated as the first Paralympic Games.

He served as medical officer for the team at the 1964 Games in Tokyo and Tel Aviv in 1968.

Earlier in 1962, Bedbrook also established the first Commonwealth Games for paraplegic sport which were held in Perth. 

They continued until 1974.

Bedbrook was also a founder member of the International Coordination Committee of the World Sports Organisations for the Disabled, an organisation which became the International Paralympic Committee. 

Bedbrook argued that the Paralympics should be staged in the same city as the Olympics, a practice established at the 1988 Games.

The convention has continued ever since.

Bedbrook was knighted in 1978.

He died in 1991, but was inducted posthumously into the Australian Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2011.

Other Sport Australia honorees in 2022 included Formula One driver Mark Webber, netballer Cath Cox, rugby league star Brad Fittler and golfer Karrie Webb.