Sport Rugby

Sunday 25 March 2018

Ronan O'Gara: 'I don't know what real depression is but I know what sports depression is'

Ronan O'Gara. Photo: David Conachy
Ronan O'Gara. Photo: David Conachy

Ronan O'Gara has admitted he has suffered bouts of "sports depression" during his career but insists it is not the same thing as "real depression".

The former Ireland and Munster outhalf has started a new life in New Zealand as a coach with the Crusaders following four years in France with Racing 92 and, in a candid interview with the Sunday Independent's Life magazine, he openly spoke about how he experienced low times in his career.

"I don't know what real depression is, thankfully, but I know what sports depression is, because I've suffered it a lot of times," said O'Gara.

"And that really is as horrendous. Thoughts come into your head where you'd be happy if your world just ended. You think about it, and I realise that would be a selfish thing to do, because I'm mentally sane.

This would be afterwards, if you haven't performed, and you feel like you've let other people down. In 2000, we could have a won a European Cup and I missed four kicks; it meant that Peter Clohessy and Mick Galwey didn't get a European Cup medal.

"At the time, it seems like there is no way forward. There was personal stuff that came out around the time."

There was widespread debate over the weekend about Munster's Gerbrandt Grobler - who was suspended from the game in 2014 for two years for the use of steroids - after he made his debut for the province in an 'A' game on Friday night.

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O'Gara admitted there is a problem with doping in rugby but says he never saw anyone "juicing".

"I took creatine and all that stuff, but I don't think there are really issues with that," added O'Gara.

"There is a difference between juicing [taking anabolic steroids] and taking supplements. I never saw people juicing, but I do think rugby has a problem. When you see South African schoolboys getting caught for it, you know it's there."

Anyone who has been affected the issues raised in this article can call the Samaritans 24 hour helpline on 116 123, text 087 260 9090, or see their website.

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