Former Essendon coach James Hird rushed to hospital

FORMER Essendon coach James Hird was rushed to hospital in Melbourne, reportedly after suffering an overdose.

Seven News reported Ambulance Victoria was called to Hird's Toorak home at 10.07pm on Wednesday to attend a "poisoning overdose".

The father-of-four was taken to Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne's eastern suburbs but he is understood to have been transferred to another medical facility on Thursday morning, where he is continuing to receive treatment.

The cause of his hospitalisation is yet to be formally confirmed but has been reported as of a "serious and disturbing" nature.

The Herald-Sun reported a Cabrini Hospital spokeswoman would not confirm Hird had been treated there, citing privacy concerns at the private facility.

"We are unable to provide information on any individual patient. The safety, wellbeing and privacy of all our patients is of utmost importance at Cabrini," Christine Elmer said.

A former Essendon official expressed concerns about Hird's welfare late last year and was reportedly keeping in touch with him, worried about his mental health.

Hird's wife Tania declined to make any comment outside the couple's home on Thursday.

Hird was appointed Essendon coach at the end of 2010 but controversially oversaw the infamous 2012 supplements program at the club.

He served a 12-month ban from the game, charged by the AFL in 2013 with prejudicing the game for his role in the program.

He resigned as coach in August 2015.

Hird was a much-loved premiership player and Brownlow medallist at the club before his appointment as coach.

In 2012, Hird opened up about his time at Essendon, which included a controversy over supplement use within the club which was described by the Australian Crime Commission as the "blackest day in Australian sport".

"As both a former coach and player, I have many conflicting and deep emotions," Hird wrote.

"I feel deeply, deeply sorry for the players. I believe the players are innocent. I feel guilt, shame, anger and regret all at once.

"I also have some pride at what the players achieved in the most difficult of circumstances and admiration for the resilience and strength they have shown through these years.

"I trusted that the protocol was followed, that when I and others issued further instructions, they were followed.

"That's why if I were to do things differently, it would be to trust less, to ask more questions, and demand more answers."

Essendon supporters flooded social media with well wishes, as news of his hospitalisation broke on Thursday afternoon.

For help, information and support in Australia call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Topics:  afl editors picks essendon james hird

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