The popular Widdowson joined the Welsh Rugby Union as Wales Men’s U20s Team Doctor in 2014. He also twice accompanied Wales Men’s U18s to South Africa. In these roles, his skills and experience as a sport physician proved invaluable to a whole generation of Welsh international players.
Several of these players were re-joined by Julian when he took up the temporary role of Men’s Senior team Doctor in the summer of 2021. As a passionate Welshman, Julian would have been immensely proud during the anthems at the Principality Stadium that summer.
“Julian’s contribution to the WRU extended beyond the treatment room and pitch-side,” said WRU lead pathway Physiotherapist, Patrick Moran.
“He was a well-loved member of all the management teams he worked with. He had an understanding of the pressures of professional sport, and with his sense of humour, empathy and winning smile, brought assurance to all his colleagues. He was, in short, great company, and will be sorely missed by us all.”
Wales and Scarlets fly half Sam Costelow was among the players who had worked closely with Julian.
Still in shock. Only spoke to him a few weeks ago with a warm embrace like always. A man behind the scenes who looked after all @BathRugby players RIP Doc pic.twitter.com/LhyDeF9Pui
— matt banahan (@mattbanahan1) December 11, 2022
“He was class – he was a huge help to me when I broke my jaw playing for Wales U20s against New Zealand out in Argentina in 2019. He could speak Spanish, so the fact he could translate everything they were saying made a difficult time that much easier to deal with.
“He was a kind man and was more than just a doctor for us as players. You could go to him and speak about anything, and he was always there to help.
“I spoke to some of the boys after the Scarlets game yesterday who had come through the U20s, and their reaction was all the same, they were all devastated with the news and it’s so sad for his family and friends.”
Julian had a distinguished career in professional sport. He was the team doctor for England Under-16s and England Saxons for 10 years, before joining Bath Rugby’s medical team in 2003.
Totally devastated to learn of the sudden passing of my colleague Dr Julian Widdowson.
An absolute gentleman… Jules was a pleasure to work with and great company off the pitch #RIPJules #TopMan #TopDoc pic.twitter.com/gc49RL86Cp
— Dan Jones (@PhysioCardiff) December 11, 2022
He spent 12 years at The Rec, and was also involved at the Paralympics World Cup in 2009 and team doctor to Wales Rugby League. He was also the medical team leader at the athletics track of the London Olympics in 2012 and held the position of team doctor for Gloucester Rugby too.
Since departing Bath, Julian was a tutor and examiner for the University of Bath Sports and Exercise Medicine MSc course and also for the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. He was most recently club doctor at West Bromwich Albion Football Club who will honour his passing by wearing black armbands in tonight’s Championship action at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland.
The WRU wishes to offer its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Julian Widdowson.