Scottish Rugby Doctor Speaks at Annual Christmas Lecture

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) welcomed local Edinburgh school pupils to the 500-year-old College for its annual Christmas lecture, which was given by Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr James Robson, on Monday 2 December 2013.

The traditional RCSEd Christmas Lecture has been given to local Edinburgh school pupils annually since 1969, with guest lecturers speaking on a wide array of medical-related topics as diverse as forensic anthropology to emergency medicine in disaster zones. This year’s lecture will be given by Dr Robson who will discuss ‘The work of the Sports Doctor; Tales of the Unexpected’.

A Fellow of RCSEd, as well as a Fellow of the College’s Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Dr Robson  is Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer and has been the Scotland Rugby Team’s Doctor for more than 100 Scotland test matches, including the Rugby World Cup competitions in 2003, 2007 and 2011.  He has also been Team Doctor on the last six consecutive international tours by the British and Irish Lions.

At the lecture, Dr Robson outlined to school pupils the role of exercise in health, both to the individual and the population. Dr Robson also told tales of his own experiences over many years of international rugby, giving an insight into the life and times of a team sports doctor – from the lows of sports-related injury, to the highs of sporting victory. The lecture touched on some moments of drama for those whose work is sport, and for those who care at pitch side. Explaining more, Dr Robson commented:

“Sports medicine has precisely the same principles as any other branch of the profession – the care of the patient comes first.

“But when you are delivering that care in front of 80,000 people in a stadium and in front of a global TV audience that you can measure in the millions then it does bring a different dimension and can be challenging.”

For the first time in its history, this year’s RCSEd Christmas Lecture was live-streamed online for Scottish primary and secondary school pupils unable to physically attend the lecture via the Scottish Government’s Glow platform.  Glow is the world’s first national safe and secure online community for pupils, parents and teachers. This award-winning national intranet for education allowed pupils from across Scotland to watch the lecture online, and interact by asking Dr Robson questions following the lecture.

If you are interested in finding out more about the RCSEd Christmas Lectures, please email


News released by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh