Rugby star Gareth Thomas' Saturday revelation that he is gay will test the sports world, John Amaechi warned Sunday, the BBC reported.

The former Wales rugby captain broke his silence on a lifetime of heartbreak and pain living inside the professional athlete closet over the weekend, telling the UK's Daily Mail: “I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine [a GLBT teen suicide line], then it will have been worth it.”

“I want to send a positive message to other gay people that they can do it, too.”

Thomas told the paper of his first male sexual encounter at the age of 18, the marriage he hoped would alter his orientation and the moment in 2006 when he first told teammates.

“A coach named Scott Johnson, a great man, came up to me in the dressing room after the game for a chat and I just broke down in tears,” Thomas said.

Thomas told the coach that he was divorcing his childhood sweetheart, Jemma Thomas, who in a separate interview told the paper he was “the perfect husband in every other way.”

“He took me out of the team room to the medical room, locked the door and I told him everything. After keeping it secret for so long, I felt a huge rush of relief.”

The coach advised he tell his closest teammates, who fully accepted Thomas.

“I felt everyone was protecting me and closing in tight around me. No one distanced themselves from me, not one single person,” the thirty-five-year-old added.

On Sunday, former NBA player John Amaechi, who in 2007 revealed he was gay after his retirement from basketball, warned that Thomas' coming out would test the sports world.

“Sport still needs to grow up in certain areas,” Amaechi told the news service. “As much as society has moved on, sport is still dragging behind.”

“When people learn you are gay, often that can squash your definition so all the good stuff goes and you just become 'some gay rugby player', which is quite difficult for many athletes to deal with,” he added.