Death of former Selkirk and SRU President Dr Donald Macleod announced

He was national team doctor for 26 years between 1969 and 1995

Dr Donald MacLeod. Image courtesy: Selkirk RFC
Dr Donald MacLeod. Image courtesy: Selkirk RFC

FORMER Selkirk Rugby Club and SRU President Dr Donald Macleod passed away on Sunday, aged 81.

“Donald not only epitomised all that was good about Selkirk Rugby Club but the game of rugby itself,” said a club statement. “He served as Selkirk RFC President from 2009-2011, and was President of the Scottish Rugby Union from 2013-2014.

“The club’s flag is being flown at half-mast in Donald’s honour, and a minute’s silence will be observed by both team’s prior to this Friday’s Tennent’s Premiership fixture against Jed-Forest at Philiphaugh. The club would like to extend its sincere condolences to Lucile and the family.”

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Macleod also played for Edinburgh Accies, and was Scotland’s team doctor for 26 years, finishing in 1995 after bing involved in the 1984 and 1990 Grand Slam successes as well as two World Cups. He was the British Lions doctor on their tour of New Zealand in 1983, and also served the SRU and the International Rugby Board as a medical advisor.

Away from rugby, he 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.

He served as vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh from 2001 to 2004; chair of the Intercollegiate Academic Board for Sports and Exercise Medicine from 1998 to 2003; president of the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine from 1995 to 2002; and from 2005 to 2008 was chair of the medical committee for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bid.

He also received the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine’s Sir Roger Bannister Medal in 2005 for outstanding contribution to sports medicine.

“Donald was unquestionably one of the pioneers,” said Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer and Scotland team doctor, James Robson. “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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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Very sad news. My sincere condolences to all the family. I worked with “Mr MacLeod” in theatre, both at Bangour General Hospital and in St John’s Hospital. A great surgeon and a lovely man !

  2. MACLEOD Donald Angus David FRCSE (Innerleithen) Peacefully, at home after a short illness, with family on 13th November 2022, Donald, dearly loved husband of Lucile, dear father of Rona, Torquil and Janette and much loved grandpa of Grace, Lauren, Peter and Caitlin. Funeral Private at Traquair Cemetery thereafter a service of Thanksgiving in Innerleithen Parish Church on Thursday 24th November at 2.00pm to which all friends are warmly invited.

  3. Donald was well ahead of his time and instrumental in bringing sports science to SRU. I enjoyed very much working with Donald both clinically and as SRU first sport Dietitian. Condolences to Lucille and his family

  4. Donald was a wonderful human being, surgeon and friend. I worked with him at Bangour Hospital then St.John’s, we had a beautiful friendship. Many fun times and laughs, memories that I’ll cherish forever. Rest easy Donald, I’ll miss you xxx

  5. So sad to read of Donald’s passing.
    In addition to his team doctor role, he was an immense figure in establishing Sports Medicine as a medical speciality, and his influence in mentoring so many sports medicine specialists will never be forgotten.
    Thanks Donald, and sincere condolences to all his family and friends.

  6. A lovely guy and a real gentleman, with a strong will when required.
    Huge service to our great game, in different capacities.


  7. A sad loss to the field of surgery. He trained me in surgery and was a great surgeon who held patient care in the highest of standards. Shaped my future in surgery and was a great teacher. RIP and thank you for your support.

  8. Such sad news, he was a wonderful man and played a big part in my international rugby career. He epitomised all that was good in our game.
    Several times he “ saved” me from a Jim Telfer Sunday training session. He had the ability to see I had had an enjoyable Saturday night and would quietly say Flu Bear? I nodded and he sent me home then told Jim!! Thank you Donald. 🐻


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