PEI

Ralph Manning, well-known P.E.I. physiotherapist, dies

UPEI chief physiotherapist Ralph Manning, Jr. has passed away at age 50 of a heart attack, leaving staff and student athletes shocked and saddened.

UPEI in 'shock' after sudden passing of well-loved staff member

UPEI chief physiotherapist Ralph Manning has died at age 50. (UPEI)

University of Prince Edward Island chief physiotherapist Ralph Manning Jr. died Wednesday at age 50 of a heart attack.

Manning collapsing on the ice playing pickup hockey last Thursday and was airlifted to hospital in Saint John.

Manning was well-known in the sporting community, having helped hundreds of UPEI athletes with their injuries, as well as at his own physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation practice in Cornwall. He was also in his second year as head therapist for the Island Storm basketball team.

In the past, he worked with the Toronto Argonauts football club in a year they won a Grey Cup.

'Huge force in the athletic world'

"Our University has lost a great friend and champion," said UPEI president and vice-chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz in a statement on the university's website. 

Ralph Manning was the Island Storm's staff physiotherapist. (Island Storm)

"He was a very committed and dedicated individual and put UPEI and its student-athletes first, offering professional and kind service. Even when he wasn't officially 'on duty', Ralph was either at the rink, on the pitch, at the field, or at the gym cheering on our Panthers," said El-Aziz.

UPEI's women's hockey game tonight was cancelled after the news of Manning's passing. 

"He was a huge force in the athletic world here," said family friend Valerie Paton. "He had an impact on a lot of people. It's very tragic."

Paton notes that Manning's father also passed away of a heart attack at a relatively young age.

Memories of a 'great professional'

Students and staff were talking and tweeting about the loss Wednesday and offering condolences and memories. 

"You just don't expect this. It was way before his time. It's a very big shock," said UPEI women's hockey coach Bruce Donaldson. "There's a lot of emotion running through the campus right now."

Manning is survived by his wife Tara, siblings Dr. Alan Manning and Susan Lea Manning, as well as his mother Maylea, who is well known as a long-time organizer of the light horse show at Old Home Week. 

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