A gay high school football coach is sharing his story of survival in the hope of making sport less homophobic.
Shane Wickes was the captain of the varsity team at his high school in his junior and senior years before going on to become one of the few football players in the history of his U.S. high school to play for a top-tier college football program, returning to his former high school as the youngest line coach in the history of the school.
However, the success didn't stop Wickes from being ashamed of his sexuality, and he attempted suicide.
"I was ready to kill myself because I thought even though this program was like a second family to me, I feared they would shun me. It was a crushing weight that I was carrying with me all of the time," he told in a TED Talk.
According to Gay Star News
, it was during the TED Talk that Wickes decided to come out, saying that he wants to make football a more welcoming place for gay players.
"Football teaches so many great life lessons to those who play or coach: perseverance, toughness, respect, self-esteem," he says. "But the one negative thing that it does teach is that being gay is not okay. To be frank, the word faggot is used almost as much as the word football."
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