Wales and Scarlets rugby star Rhys Thomas opens up about alcohol battle

 For athletes like retired Wales international Rhys Thomas and former boxing champion Russell Pearce, addiction at one time seemed incompatible with professional sport.

Both drank heavily during their careers before seeking help for alcoholism in retirement.

They want to raise awareness and educate others, inside and outside sport, to prevent more people suffering.

"I just feel a duty to be honest," said Thomas, who retired in 2012 following a heart attack while training with the Scarlets.

After a quadruple bypass operation he was put on a transplant waiting list, fitted with a pump to help reduce his pulmonary hypertension and forced to limit all fluids to two and a half litres, or less than four and a half pints a day.

"Things got pretty drastic and in my state, you know, where I'm on a heart transplant list and I'm drinking to those levels with a wire coming out of my stomach, which if it gets pulled would almost certainly kill me," the 38-year-old added.

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