Bradbury Robinson

Bradbury Norton Robinson, Jr. (February 1, 1884 – March 7, 1949) was a pioneering American football player, physician, nutritionist, conservationist and local politician. He played college football at the University of Wisconsin in 1903 and at Saint Louis University from 1904 to 1907. In 1904, through personal connections to Wisconsin governor Robert M. La Follette, Sr. and his wife, Belle Case, Robinson learned of calls for reforms to the game of football from President Theodore Roosevelt, and began to develop tactics for passing. After moving to Saint Louis University, Robinson threw the first legal forward pass in the history of American football on September 5, 1906, at a game at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He became the sport's first triple threat man, excelling at running, passing, and kicking. He was also a member of St. Louis' "Olympic World's Champions" football team in 1904. Robinson graduated from Saint Louis University in 1908 with a medical degree and practiced as a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In World War I, he was commissioned a captain of infantry in the U.S. Army, arriving in France in 1918 where he became an instructor in the use of the newly-developed tank, later serving as a front line infantry officer in the last ten days of the war. He remained in the Army until September 1919, during which time he studied advanced medical techniques at the University of Bordeaux. In the early 1920s, he oversaw the medical screening of immigrants while serving on the European staff of Hugh S. Cumming, Surgeon General of the United States. He returned to the United States in 1926 and practiced medicine in St. Louis, Michigan, where he was twice elected the city's mayor. In the 1940s, Robinson was among the first to warn against the dangers of DDT use in agriculture.


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