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Men’s Tennis

Dooley writes of struggles, success as gay athlete

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Irish senior Matt Dooley detailed his life as a gay athlete at Notre Dame in an article he wrote on Outsports.com published early Monday morning.

In the article, Dooley said he attempted suicide in 2011 because “death was better than accepting – or revealing – that I was gay.”

“Waking up in the hospital the next day, I’d never sensed more disappointment than I did right then – disappointment in myself,” Dooley wrote. “How did I get to this point? How could I let myself do something like this?”

Senior Matt Dooley fires a serve against SMU on April 4. Dooley wrote about his life as a gay athlete at Notre Dame in a recent article.Mary Green | The Observer

Senior Matt Dooley fires a serve against SMU on April 4. Dooley wrote about his life as a gay athlete at Notre Dame in a recent article.

Two years after attempting suicide, Dooley said he came out to his teammates.

“This time around, there was no worry about acceptance or self-worth,” he said in the article. “Every single member of the team and coaching staff was extremely supportive, many echoing gratitude for my honesty and, in a way, bringing the team closer together. That day reaffirmed my strong belief that we, the athletes of Notre Dame, are truly a brotherhood.

“As of September, my teammates and coaches finally know me. I still walk into practice respected every day. I feel at home here, and I want everyone else to feel the same.”

In the two years between his suicide attempt and coming out to the team, Dooley said he also came out to his family and Irish senior Greg Andrews.

Dooley said Notre Dame’s Student Welfare and Development (SWD) office has begun the process of implementing a You Can Play initiative. The You Can Play website said it was “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.”

“One thing is truly evident: incredible things are about to happen here at one of the most prominent Catholic universities in the world,” Dooley wrote.

This season, Dooley is 6-5 in singles and 5-6 in doubles for the No. 6 Irish.

“I share this story in hopes of sending a single message to other gay athletes like me: No matter the circumstance or situation, you are never alone,” Dooley said.

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