Top rugby star died of accidental drug overdose trying to relieve agonising pain

A former rugby league player died of an accidental drug overdose after taking too much medication prescribed to relieve his chronic back pain, an inquest has heard.

Jordan Cox, who played in Super League for Hull Kingston Rovers and Warrington Wolves, was found by his grandmother in the early hours of April 30 last year.

The 27-year-old had suffered from "considerable pain" as a result of rugby-related injuries, Hull Coroners Court heard.

The court heard that tragic Jordan had been prescribed drugs to treat his pain after suffering shoulder, knee, ankle and back injuries throughout his career.

But 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, Jordan's GP, told the inquest Jordan had an "excessive history" of rugby-related injuries and was often in "severe pain".

He told the court Jordan had previously been rushed to hospital in 2015 after taking an overdose of Tramadol.

Jordan's heartbroken mum Amanda Cox told the inquest she still 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 Jordan was first prescribed Tramadol in 2015, but soon started taking it to excess and eventually became addicted.

The inquest heard Jordan was rushed to hospital after taking an overdose of Tramadol in 2015.

Jordan sought help for his addiction to medication and was working on a plan to reduce his reliance.

Ms Cox said Jordan 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.

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, Jordan'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 Catherine and Ms Cox told the inquest they did not think Jordan 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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