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AFL players' union reach out to James Hird

AAP logoAAP 9/01/2017 Michael Ramsey

The AFL players' union have reached out to former Essendon coach James Hird amid growing criticism of his treatment prior to his health crisis.

Hird is understood to be recovering at an undisclosed health facility after being rushed to hospital on Wednesday night for a suspected drug overdose.

Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas is among those who have questioned the treatment of Hird after the Essendon supplements saga and public silence since his hospitalisation.

AFLPA chief Paul Marsh on Monday declined to comment on whether the league should have done more for Hird but said the union had offered their support to the father of four.

"James is a former player. We have over 3000 past players as members of the AFLPA," Marsh said.

"We've reached out to someone close to James to offer our support and if we can help James or his family in any way, we will."

Thomas on Saturday lashed out at the AFL for not coming out with a public statement of support for Hird, while former Adelaide coach Graham Cornes said the football world had ostracised Hird.

Hird's lawyer Steven Amendola said other prominent AFL figures had been treated differently to Hird after they had been through hard times.

"From what I have observed over the past number of years, it seems that you can glass your partner, you can sleep with your best friend's wife and the path to forgiveness will always be open in AFL land," Amendola told the Herald Sun.

"But if your name is James Hird that path will be blocked."

Hird's wife Tania issued a media statement on Friday, thanking the public for its support and pleading for privacy.

Essendon chairman Lindsay Tanner has said the club will continue to support its former coach and star player.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia www.mmha.org.au.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service available from www.vibe.com.au.

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