Tributes are being paid after a 32-year-old dual code rugby league and union player collapsed and died during a match in Yorkshire yesterday.
Birkenshaw Bluedogs’ Max Blakeley was playing summer rugby league in a Yorkshire Men’s League Division Five match at Heworth Rugby League Club’s ground at Elmpark Way when the tragedy occurred.
Blakeley – who plays union during the Winter for Cleckheaton RUFC – left the field feeling unwell. He subsequently collapsed at halftime.
He was attended to by first-aiders with a defibrillator, who desperately attempted to resuscitate the prop.
An ambulance arrived from a local hospital but tragically Mr Blakeley was pronounced dead at the scene.
Birkenshaw Bulldogs released a statement: “Birkenshaw Rugby League Club are sorry to inform of the passing of 32-year-old Max Blakeley.
“Max came off the pitch and later became poorly. Paramedics were called but were unable to revive him. His family have requested privacy at this difficult time. The club will issue a further statement when appropriate.”
Tributes have been paid across both sports.
Cleckheaton RUFC described him as a ‘club stalwart’.
“It is with the deepest sadness that we have to report the passing today of Cleckheaton player Max Blakely.
“Max was a club stalwart and we are devastated. Sleep tight Max you will be sorely missed”
Super League giants Bradford Bulls also paid tribute on Twitter: “Everyone at the Bradford Bulls is very sad to hear of the passing of Maxwell Clinton Blakeley who passed away during Birkenshaw’s game earlier today.
“Prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and everyone in Rugby League community at this extremely traumatic time. R.I.P.”
Everyone at the Bradford Bulls is very sad to hear of the passing of Maxwell Clinton Blakeley who passed away during Birkenshaw’s game earlier today.
Prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and everyone in Rugby League community at this extremely traumatic time. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/Acfft6fbQF
— Bradford Bulls (@OfficialBullsRL) July 14, 2018
A poster on the Cleckheaton’s website said: “Devastating news to hear about Max he enjoyed his life whether up or down and nothing bothered him as long as he was with his mates playing the game he loved followed by a few beers.
Max you will be sadly missed by everyone that had the pleasure of your company the whole of CRUFC and more recently the juniors who you helped to coach.”
Many paid tribute across Twitter.
@LondonBroncosRL send our condolences and our support to all those at Birkenshaw Bluedogs RL following the tragic death of Maxwell Blakeley yesterday. Rugby League is a family sport and we have all lost a member of that family RIP Maxwell.
— London Broncos (@LondonBroncosRL) July 15, 2018
Terribly sad news. My deep condolences to Max Blakeley's family and friends and to everyone at the Birkenshaw club. RIP https://t.co/FTIyYGRrC2
— Martyn Sadler (@MartynSadler) July 15, 2018
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