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Rugby star Gareth Thomas reveals exercise helped him fight depression

Bea Mitchell June 1, 2016
Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009

Gareth Thomas came out in 2009 (YouTube/Screengrab)

Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas has revealed that fitness helped him fight depression and find inner strength.

Mr Thomas hit headlines in 2009 when he became the UK’s first openly gay rugby player. Prior to coming out he said that the burden of “living a lie” almost drove him to suicide.

The rugby player has previously spoken about making several suicide attempts when his wife left him because he came out as gay.

On the night she left him, at the end of their five-year marriage, he said he dressed in his best grey suit, and went to the swimming pool of their home to drown himself.

Attending SIBEC UK 2016 last week, Mr Thomas gave a moving keynote speech about how exercise and self-improvement have helped him deal with his emotions, Sports Management reports.

“I can only speak from my own experience and comment on how exercise helps me… exercise can offer a positive solution for some people,” he said after his speech.

“I feel that continually striving to improve and be better is an excellent value to apply across my life.”

“Exercise is also a form of escape. If I’m angry or frustrated, the gym offers sanctuary and a release, a way of dealing with the emotions. Nothing else offers me this in the way that exercise does.”

Last year, an advert for Guinness came out featuring Mr Thomas talking about feeling alone when he came out as gay.

According to Guinness, the video “tells the story of how the former Wales captain’s greatest fear wasn’t the opposition he faced on the pitch, but the fear of rejection from everything he had known, because of his sexuality.

More: depression, Gareth Thomas, Rugby, sports

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