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Addiction, doping, mental health tackled at ‘Crossing the Line’

Published: 27th May 2016

What happens to retired sportspeople? When the adulation comes to an end, how do you transition back to a ‘normal’ life?

These are the kinds of questions being addressed by the Crossing The Line Summit taking place in Trinity College Dublin tomorrow (May 28), which will examine the good, the bad and the ugly of athlete retirement and personal welfare.

This inaugural one-day event aims to be a conversation starter, discussing some of sport’s taboo subjects in a bid to improve awareness around them.

On the agenda are such topics as mental health, addiction and doping, injury impact and athlete retirement and high-profile speakers include Ben Johnson and Greg Louganis.

Olympic sprinter Johnson, now a staunch anti-doping advocate, was stripped of his 100m gold from the 1988 Olympics after he tested positive for steroids. In the run-up to tomorrow’s event Johnson spoke to the media candidly about this episode in his history. “It bothers me sometimes,” he told one media outlet, “I ask myself did I do the right thing.”

Another Crossing the Line speaker is American Greg Louganis, a four-time Olympic champion and an athlete who is also considered to be the greatest diver in history. He will be joined by former Ireland and Sunderland footballer Niall Quinn, who admitted he found it tough getting out of bed when his stellar career came to an end.

Other contributors to Crossing the Line include: Olympic psychologist Jaylene Clews; sports ethics campaigner and owner of the Skins brand Jaimie Fuller; Trinity Assistant Professor in Physiotherapy Dr Fiona Wilson; former senior hurling with Galway Tony Óg Regan; Trinity’s Professor of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Niall Moran plus many more.

The conference is the brainchild of Trinity alum Gearoid Towey and Niall O’Toole, both of whom are former Olympic rowers. When faced with his own retirement following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Towey went looking for resources but found very little available to support him through such a difficult time.

For full details for tomorrow’s programme or to buy tickets log on to