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Four Corners: May 1

On Monday’s Four Corners, Louise Milligan reports on “After the Game” as elite athletes blow the whistle on the high price paid for sporting glory.

“You literally go from the very peak of your career, being the best at something, to dirt.” Former Olympian & Commonwealth Gold Medallist

On Monday night, Australian sporting champions reveal their struggles to restart their lives after their elite sporting careers have ended.

“It’s a cut-throat industry, professional sports…A lot of people forget we’re still human beings.” Former Essendon AFL Player

Their accounts are raw, deeply personal and in some cases, shocking.

“I felt like I was a failure again. That I couldn’t achieve anything. I couldn’t do basic things.” Former Test Cricket Player

One elite swimmer tells of how she went from being ranked number one in the world to queuing for the dole.

“I applied for pretty much every job under the sun. I applied for packing shelves in shopping centres and the comment is: ‘oh what do you need a job for?’” Former Olympian & Commonwealth Gold Medallist

A world class superstar reveals their fight to overcome a dependence on prescription drugs used to numb the pain caused by injury.

“Having to get off everything was really, really, really hard.” Former Elite Athlete

One former cricket star explains how he went from living the dream life to his current job as a road surfacer.

“There’s no system set up in place to take care of players that have career-ending injuries. It’s short and sharp – ‘see you later, thanks for coming’.” Former Cricket Player

All describe the mental anguish they’ve been through as they grappled with finding a place in the real world.

“The perception in my mind was everything will be downhill from here. I’ve just reached the pinnacle.
This is my lifelong dream. So is everything else from here downhill?” Olympic Gold Medallist

Former Wallaby Dan Vickerman took his own life in February, devastating those around him. In moving interviews his former teammates reflect on the challenges of life after sport and the painful soul searching they’ve been through in the months since his death.

These elite athletes are urging sporting bodies to do more to prepare sports men and women for life after their careers have ended.

“Athletes are competing for maybe ten years, if they’re lucky. Ten years out of an 80 year life. At the moment, that ten years, for a lot of people, it’s destroying the rest of their lives. It’s destroying the next sixty.” Former Olympian

Monday May 1 at 8.30pm on ABC.

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