Donald Macleod: tributes to former Scotland team doctor and past president of the SRU

Tributes have been paid to Donald Macleod, the former Scotland team doctor and past president of the Scottish Rugby Union, who died on Sunday. He was 81.

Former Scotland team doctor Donald Macleod presents Finn Russell with his first cap following his debut against the United States in Houston in 2014. Picture: Craig Watson/SNS
Former Scotland team doctor Donald Macleod presents Finn Russell with his first cap following his debut against the United States in Houston in 2014. Picture: Craig Watson/SNS

Described as a pioneer of sports medicine, he worked with the national team from 1969 until 1995, a span that incorporated the Grand Slams of 1984 and 1990, and his expertise was highly valued by players and fellow medics. He was doctor on the British and Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand in 1983.

James Robson, Scottish Rugby’s chief medical officer and the current Scotland team doctor, said: “I regard Donald as the grandfather of sports medicine in the UK. He was a massive inspiration to me. Donald was unquestionably one of the pioneers. He was pivotal to the adoption of professional standards in sports medicine and instrumental in securing its formal standing within the Royal College of Surgeons.”

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“Donald set the standards,” Robson told the Scottish Rugby website. “He had been on a Lions tour in 1983 and I had the great pleasure of working with him as physio in his latter years as team doctor.”

Macleod, who was Scotland team doctor at the first two Rugby World Cups, in 1987 and 1991, was consultant general surgeon at Bangour General Hospital in West Lothian from 1975 to 2001, and associate postgraduate dean of surgery for south-east Scotland from 1993 to 2004. He was also an honorary professor of sports medicine at Aberdeen University from 1998 to 2003.

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His own rugby career saw him play in the back-row for Edinburgh Academicals and he later served in administrative roles in the sport, as president of Selkirk RFC from 2009-11 and president of the SRU from 2013-14.

Craig Chalmers, stand-off in the great 1990 Scotland team, paid tribute on Twitter. “What a great man he was and he will be sorely missed,” he wrote. “Thoughts are with his family.” Fellow Grand Slam winner Scott Hastings wrote: “One of the loveliest men you could ever meet, RIP Donald - you were an amazing man!”

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A minute’s silence will be observed before Selkirk’s Premiership match against Jed-Forest at Philiphaugh on Friday night.

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