Professional rugby league player, 27, died of accidental drug overdose

Professional rugby league player, 27, died of accidental drug overdose after taking too much medication for sporting injuries including chronic back pain, inquest hears

  • Jordan Cox, 27, took medication for chronic back pain after sporting injuries
  • He played in the Super League for Hull Kingston Rovers and Warrington Wolves
  • Suffered from ‘considerable pain’ because of injuries sustained during career 

A professional rugby league player died of an accidental drug overdose after taking too much medication for sporting injuries, an inquest has heard.

Jordan Cox, 27, took pain relief medication for chronic back pain but was found dead by his grandmother in the early hours of April 30 last year.

Mr Cox played in the Super League for Hull Kingston Rovers and Warrington Wolves but suffered from ‘considerable pain’ because of injuries sustained over the course of his career. 

The court heard Mr Cox had been prescribed drugs to treat his pain after suffering shoulder, knee, ankle and back injuries.

Jordan Cox (pictured), 27, took pain relief medication for chronic back pain and was found dead by his grandmother in the early hours of April 30 last year

Mr Cox (pictured with the rugby ball) played in the Super League for Hull Kingston Rovers and Warrington Wolves but suffered from ‘considerable pain’ because of injuries sustained over the course of his career

His reliance on the medication became too much and Jordan overdosed on the evening of April 29. He was found the next morning by his grandmother in his bed at the family home in Hull, East Yorks., and was tragically pronounced dead by medics when they arrived.

The court heard there were ‘toxic levels’ of the drugs Diazepam, Pregabalin and Oxycodone that, combined, caused his heart to stop.

Assistant coroner Ian Sparkes said: ‘The medical cause of death is given as drug poisoning. This is an extremely sad, untimely and tragic death of a young man. Jordan was only 27 years old.’

Dr Gabriel Hendow, Mr Cox’s GP, told the inquest he had an ‘excessive history’ of rugby-related injuries and was often in ‘severe pain’.

He told the court Mr Cox was previously rushed to hospital in 2015 after taking an overdose of Tramadol.

The court heard there were ‘toxic levels’ of the drugs Diazepam, Pregabalin and Oxycodone that, combined, caused his heart to stop

Mr Cox’s heartbroken mother Amanda told the inquest she has not been able to come to terms with the loss of her son, who began playing rugby aged ten.

She said: ‘To other people, he was a 6’5, 18 stone rugby player, but to me he was my son Jordan who asked for a hug when he wanted one and would do anything for his grandma.

‘It didn’t matter if you knew Jordan for 27 years or 27 minutes, he was your friend for life. Jordan was a larger than life character, he enjoyed playing the part of the joker in the pack. He loved making people laugh and could start a conversation with anyone.’

Ms Cox said her son was first prescribed Tramadol in 2015, but soon started taking it to excess and eventually became addicted.

The inquest heard he was rushed to hospital after taking an overdose of Tramadol in 2015. He sought help for his addiction to medication and was working on a plan to reduce his reliance.

Ms Cox said he had been working at a call centre after being without a professional club for the 2020 season, but lost his job shortly before his death.

Ms Cox said her son (left) was first prescribed Tramadol in 2015, but soon started taking it to excess and eventually became addicted

She said he had been training in the hope of getting back in rugby league, but that was halted when lockdown hit, sport was stopped and gyms forced to close.

Catherine Blowman, Mr Cox’s ex-girlfriend, told the inquest: ‘I loved Jordan and I know he loved me. I look back on our relationship fondly.

‘Everyone thinks Jordan was this larger than life character which he can be, but in private he was a quiet, caring man.’

Both Miss Blowman and Ms Cox told the inquest they did not think Mr Cox would have taken his own life. Assistant coroner Ian Sparkes ruled a conclusion of a drug-related death.

In conclusion, Mr Sparkes added: ‘Jordan started playing rugby aged 10 and aged 16, he was signed for Hull Kingston Rovers and played for a number of clubs.

‘He suffered a number of injuries in his career. As a consequence of these injuries, he suffered what appeared to be chronic pain.

‘He had been in quite considerable back pain from around the age of 23. In an attempt to to manage the symptoms, pain killers were prescribed.

‘Unfortunately Jordan’s reliance on this pain-relieving medication increased. It is clear to me Jordan had taken his pain relief medication to such an extent that his body simply couldn’t tolerate it which consequently led to his death.’

The prop forward started his career with hometown club Hull KR in 2011 and last appeared for Doncaster in 2019 before being released.

He made a total of 64 appearances for Rovers, scoring six tries, and returned to train with their reserve squad after finding himself without a club for the 2020 season.

He also represented Huddersfield Giants and Sheffield Eagles during his eight-year professional career.

Paying tribute at the time of his death, Hull KR owner Neil Hudgell said: ‘Jordan’s passing has come as a terrible shock to us all at the club.

‘I last saw him at a reserves game and exchanged a few jokey one liners with him. Jordan always seemed so full of life and spirit and his loss is so sad.’ 

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