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Former Salford captain died of multi-organ failure following drug and alcohol overdose, inquest hears

Former Salford Red Devils captain Malcolm Alker

Former Salford Red Devils captain Malcolm Alker passed away due to a drug and alcohol overdose following a battle with depression, an inquest has been told.

The hooker, who spent his entire professional career with Salford, and was capped twice by England, died in January of this year.

He made 292 appearances for Salford Red Devils, and was first named captain of the club at the age of 21.

In 2001, he became to first player in Super League history to make as many as 1,000 tackles in a season.

Salford Red Devils players, including Malcolm Alker, celebrate.

Credit: Imago Images

The coroner ruled the cause of death as multi-organ failure due to multiple drug toxicity.

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Alker had the ‘onset of suspected dementia’

Alker had a brain injury, which was believed to be due to blows to the head throughout his career, and had been diagnosed with the onset of suspected dementia.

In January of this year, police were called to his house due to fears that he’d taken an overdose.

His partner found him in a “slightly” unresponsive state and she raised a “concern for safety”.

Medics were told he had not intended to harm himself, but that he had taken medication.

The inquest heard that multiple empty bottles of alcohol were found in the house by police.

He was taken to hospital in an ambulance, but due to the A&E department being too busy, he had to wait in the ambulance, where he suffered a cardiac arrest.

He then suffered another cardiac arrest at the resuscitation unit, and was pronounced dead on the morning of the next day.

The inquest heard that he had a history of using drugs and alcohol to cope with anxiety and low mood, as well as “impulsive” overdoses between 2015 and 2021.

The coroner, Michael Pemberton, at Bolton Coroners’ Court, said “there were times when he found things difficult, and there had been a number of disruptive events in the preceeding few years.”

He gave a conclusion of alcohol and drug-related death.

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