Fears for Hackett's mental health after booze meltdown

Sports | 16 Feb 2017

Australian swimming great Grant Hackett has been released by police without charge after trouble at his parents' home, but the Olympic gold medalist's family fear for his mental health.

Hackett's father Neville called police to their home at Southport on the Gold Coast after a bout of heavy drinking by his son led to "uncontrollable rage," the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

"Grant's got a medical problem and it manifested itself," Neville Hackett said. "He was raving and ranting a bit. It's what I'd call a bit of a breakdown."

Seven News television posted footage of Hackett being driven to the police station in handcuffs.

Hackett came out of six years of troubled retirement in 2014 to try to make the Rio Games, hoping to become the oldest Australian swimmer to qualify for an Olympics. But he narrowly missed out on an Olympic place and then last April hit the headlines again after a meltdown on a plane.

He vowed to quit the bottle after squeezing the nipple of a fellow business-class passenger on a flight from Adelaide, where the Olympic swimming trials were held. Hackett admitted to binge-drinking and apologized to the man whose nipple he pinched.

"This is now a chronic problem," Hackett's brother Craig said after the latest trouble. "From a mental health perspective I hope something can be done. This is not Grant Hackett. This is a completely different person. I don't know this person, my mom and dad don't know this person. He's there in body, but he's not there in mind, soul or spirit."

Hackett, who retired after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, won the 1,500-meter freestyle in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE



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