The news that Duncan Bell, the former England prop forward, has revealed in announcing his retirement from Bath and the sport that he suffers from depression came as a big surprise to many in the sport, including to those who thought they knew "Belly" well.
In hindsight, though, maybe it is not such a shock, after all. You see sport should mirror life, except that it tries very hard not to. In everyday life people can be depressed, or gay, or any other of the supposed sporting taboos, but not, it seems, in sport.
I've known Gareth "Alfie" Thomas for many years and there were, indeed, plenty of "rumours" flying around for many a year that Alfie, the former Cardiff, Wales and British Lions star, was gay, but it took until the twilight of his career for the great man to come out of the closet.
His reasons were simple: he didn't think he could take the constant stick that would come his way from teammates, opposing players and fans. Duncan Bell, like football's Stan Collymore and, for a while until they revealed their illnesses, cricket's Marcus Trescothick and Michael Yardy, were unprepared to admit their depression within the confines of a male-dominated, testosterone-fuelled sports dressing room. Lewis Moody only recently revealed that he suffered from colitis that had left him in some very uncompromising positions in recent years.
Again, he suffered alone through fear of his peers' response, which made his misery even more abject. It is tough to admit to anything perceived once as taboo, although I believe society, and even within a male sports dressing room, has changed and grown up a little.
The response to Thomas and Trescothick and Moody and now Bell has been totally supportive, and rightly so. Maybe sport should try much harder to assure all its participants that there are no real taboos in life or sport any more, and that a friend or a teammate will always be on your side.