Sport AFL Essendon offer James Hird support after health scare
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Essendon offer James Hird support after health scare

james hird
Hird was taken to hospital suffering from a major health scare, reports claimed. Photo: Getty
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Essendon have offered their support to ex-footballer and coach James Hird after he was treated for a reported overdose.

Hird is said to have been taken to a Melbourne-based hospital on Wednesday night before being transferred elsewhere.

The nature of Hird’s current condition is still unconfirmed, however, Seven News reported that the former Bombers great was treated for an “intentional poisoning overdose”.

In an official statement on Friday, Essendon chairman Lindsay Tanner said: “On behalf of the entire Essendon family, our thoughts are with James Hird and his family.

“This is a personal and private matter and we ask the media to respect the privacy of James and his family.

“The club will continue to offer its support to James and the Hird family.”

Also on Friday, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley took to Twitter to denounce the ongoing and intense media scrutiny of Hird.

Chairman of beyondblue, a mental health organisation, Jeff Kennett, said the reported incident was a “cry for help”.

“Assuming these stories have a basis of fact, this is a cry for help by an individual and I hope that he will get that help,” Mr Kennett told SEN.

“Without knowing the circumstances, this individual is a young man, (with a) family, obviously he has got circumstances he wishes to deal with, but you’ve heard me say so many times before, the greatest gift we have is the gift of life.

“Regardless of the circumstances with which we are facing … life is by far the better option.”

Hird remains a Bombers great

Hird is an Essendon legend, having played 253 games for the club, winning two premierships (1993, 2000) and a 1996 Brownlow Medal, the award for the league’s best-and-fairest player.

His coaching stint was littered with drama, though, and in 2014 he served a 12-month ban from coaching Essendon for his role in their ill-fated 2012 supplements program.

Essendon were kicked out of the 2013 finals series and heavily fined for the saga.

Hird did return to coach Essendon in 2015, but resigned later that season.

He was also involved in a protracted legal battle with the AFL and ASADA over the scandal, details of which played out in a very public manner for the former star midfielder.

“To my family and friends … I am truly sorry for what you have had to endure,” Hird said while announcing his resignation.

james hird
James Hird celebrates his 1993 Premiership win with teammate Rick Olarenshaw. Photo: Getty

“In making this decision [to resign], I hope we all get a chance to move on and enjoy how wonderful life really is.

“I think the whole three years has been very tough on my family.

“It’s put a lot of strain on everyone, a lot of stress on a lot of parts of my family life.

“I think it’ll be just good for the family to get some space from the media spotlight.”

Hird and his wife, Tania, have a daughter and three sons.

If you’re experiencing difficulties, help is available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

– with AAP

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