The inaugural Crossing the Line Summit took place this past weekend in Trinity College Dublin and it really hit the mark with the speakers, attendees and the general public in Ireland who were treated to long broadcast segments on national radio station, Newstalk.
The first event was the 2 hour live debate on athlete retirement. It was held in the historical Long Room of Trinity College Dublin and was moderated by one of Ireland’s top sports journalists, Ger Gilroy. The panel included Greg Louganis, Ben Johnson and Irish soccer legend Niall Quinn.
After an introductory few words, I was also on hand for the debate which was attended by a selection of influencers in Irish media and sport. It was a lively session with Greg, Ben and Niall being very candid about their struggles with depression post retirement. The full broadcast can be found below.
On the Friday we had a great discussion with the LGBT community around homophobia in sport. Senator David Norris was there to hear Greg Louganis, Brendan de Gallai of RiverDance fame, Ailis Egan from the Irish Womens Rugby Team and myself impart our stories and opinions on one of the last bastions for the LGBT community.
The Summit itself really hit the mark in terms of speakers and content. Crossing the Line Sport education principal Gayelene Clews (www.wiredtoplay.com) anchored many of the sessions along with Jaimie Fuller, Rick Cotgreave and Dr. Fiona Wilson.
The day was decided up into four topics:
Athlete Mental Health
Athlete addiction and doping
How injury affects athletes post career
What solutions we must look at going forward
The work was presented with a mix of theory, research and audience engagement. However the biggest part of the mix was the personal experiences of our panelists. This is the core of Crossing the Line Sport. Athletes sharing their journeys.
A huge thank you to our speakers who were so open and honest about their experiences. The audience were extremely grateful and many felt validated and empowered after the day. One of the whole reasons for the day was to show athletes that they are not alone when it comes to depression and identity issues post sporting career.
We have opened the conversation massively with this Summit and we feel it is only the beginning. On behalf of myself and Niall O Toole I would like to thank all those who got involved and supported this first-time event.
More details with some introductions to some of our panelists with photos to follow. Now its on the plane back to Australia!