Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 104 of 119

ND SPORTS BY DAN MURPHY W hen Matt Dooley first sat down to tell the world why he tried to end his life, he couldn't get further than the first three paragraphs. He had come to peace with the de- pression that led him to a hospital bed two years earlier. He had told the story to teammates on the Notre Dame tennis team, his parents and his older brother, Dan. Their support gave him the confi- dence to tell more people, but the long, careful process of doing that properly would not be easy. Dooley is gay. For many years his sexual identity zapped his sense of self-worth, a struggle that reached rock bottom with a suicide attempt during his sophomore year at Notre Dame. He came out publicly during the first week of March by sharing his experience on, a website that covers LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans- gender) issues in sports. "Writing it was tough," he said. "I'm writing this article that's going to be ev- erywhere, and well, seven people know about this. There are so many different pieces that were like that. The process of it was tough." The results, so far, have been reward- ing. More than 6,000 people shared Dooley's story on Facebook and Twit- ter in the first week after it was pub- lished. He said the volume of emails, texts and other messages he's received in response has been "overwhelming." All of them were positive. Dooley said he has already heard from some fellow students who told him he helped to save their lives. His purpose in becoming the first Notre Dame student-athlete to come out on this large of a stage was to make the path easier for others to follow and to prevent them from taking the same course he took. "It was about telling people they're not alone," Dooley said. He and Notre Dame plan to continue those efforts by joining forces with the You Can Play initiative, a group ded- icated to making sure athletes aren't judged by their sexual orientation. Pat- rick Burke, a 2006 Notre Dame gradu- ate, started the You Can Play project in March 2012. Burke is the director of player safety for the National Hockey League. He started You Can Play in memory of his younger brother, Brendan, an openly gay former student manager of the Mi- ami (Ohio) hockey team who died in a car crash in 2010. The organization's roots started in the NHL, but dozens of colleges and other sports teams have since jumped on board. Men's Tennis Player Matt Dooley Spearheads Campus 'You Can Play' Movement

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - April 2014 Issue