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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

DAVID SPRAGUE

Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: August 11, 1910
Place of Birth: Dunkirk, New York
Date of Passing: February 20, 1968
Sport: Football
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1926-1927

Dominion High School Football Championships, Delta Collegiate

1932

Grey Cup - Hamilton Tigers

1940

Grey Cup - Ottawa Rough Riders

1963

Inducted in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Honoured Member DAVID SPRAGUE
Inspire

Story

Sprague first played football at Hamilton's Delta Collegiate under the coaching of former Tigers' star Ben Simpson. They won the Dominion high school championships in 1926 and 1927, after which Sprague followed in the footsteps of his coach and joined the roster of the Hamilton Tigers. Sprague played for the Tigers from 1930 to 1932, but it wasn't until an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia, in which he ran for three touchdowns, that his true potential really showed. In a mere two seasons, Sprague led the Tigers to two interprovincial titles and one Grey Cup championship. Sprague played with the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1933 to 1940, during which time he spent two seasons as captain. He championed them to one Grey Cup victory in 1940, as well as three Big Four titles. A powerful running back, Sprague was known for his enthusiasm as well as his recklessness on the field. He suffered numerous injuries over the years, including a broken back, a torn Achilles' tendon, several blood clots, broken noses, cartilage problems, a shoulder separation, and cuts requiring some 150 stitches. His name is not only inscribed in the sporting archives but also in the annals of medicine, for he made medical history when Dr. W.E. Gallie, professor of surgery at the University of Toronto, conducted a successful skin transplant on his shoulder. Sprague, however, refused to let these mere mortal inconveniences keep him off the field. During one memorable game against Balmy Beach, he scored the winning touchdown despite playing with a painfully infected leg which would have relegated any normal human being to the hospital. Sprague's iron will and tremendous talent earned him a place among the All-Eastern and All-Canadian players nearly every year of his career, as well as an honoured place in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963.


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