The Orthopaedic Research Center (ORC) lost a great friend and mentor in Dr. John A. Feagin Jr. when he passed away in September 2019 at his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Dr. Feagin was the first MD orthopedic surgeon that Dr. McIlwraith met in the US when Dr. Feagin was the Jacques Jenny Lecturer at the Veterinary Orthopedic Society (VOS) meeting thirty years ago. They then became involved together with the Steadman Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board (later the Steadman Philippon Research Foundation Advisory Board) and they became personal friends. He was strikingly humble when he was the first human orthopedic surgeon lecturing to veterinarians at the VOS and he remained humble throughout a brilliant career.

Pictured above: Dr. John Feagin (left) with Drs. Kawcak, McIlwraith, Frisbie & Kisiday visiting the ORC in 2005

Following graduation from Duke Medical School in 1961 Dr. Feagin completed an internship at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii, followed by an orthopedic surgery residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. He served as an orthopedic surgeon in Vietnam from 1966-1967 with the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon. He returned to West Point at served as an orthopedic surgeon at Keller Army Hospital and was team physician for the army athletic teams from 1967-1972. He then completed a fellowship in hip replacement surgery in England with Sir John Charnley at Wrightington Hospital and then was assigned to the orthopedic teaching staff at Letterman Army Medical Center from 1973-1978. He retired from the army as a colonel in 1979 and then practiced orthopedic surgery in Jackson, Wyoming from 1979-1989. During this time, he also served as team physician for the US Olympic Ski teams. Dr. Feagin returned to Duke University in 1989 as Associate Professor of Surgery and team physician for Duke Athletics and retired from clinical practice in 1999 and remained on the Duke faculty as Associate Professor Emeritus of Orthopedic Surgery. John was always intensely interested in our research at the Orthopaedic Research Center and visited the center twice as well as us having meetings with him in Vail once a year. He very humbly influenced an entire generation of orthopedic surgeons world-wide in ways that transformed the understanding and treatment of knee injuries. He was a founding member of both the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Study Group and the International Knee Documentation Committee. His book on cruciate ligament iInjuries, remains the standard text on ligamentous injuries of the knee. Of all his contributions, Dr. Feagin’s greatest were to those he mentored. He was an exemplar of patient centered treatment, selfless leadership and his legacy lives on through the thousands of people he influenced for the better throughout his life, including some of us at CSU.