Former athletes experience a number of challenges to helping them transition into “normal life” after retiring from sport.
Retirement is not the end, it’s a new beginning
All transitions are followed by a period of disruption in which old routines, assumptions, and relationships change and new ones evolve. In sport, it seems that most organisations have not given the same attention to assisting athletes to move out of the organisational structure as they have when helping them move in.
The transition can be experienced as grief and loss for the former highly-validated and appreciated identity of the sportsperson. It is here that retiring professionals can be immobilised and lost, struggling to redefine their purpose.
During this process, the lost or changing identity can lead to individuals struggling to relate to themselves and others.
From years of validation and strengthening of their identity and purpose in sport, there can be a profound physiological and psychological impact on the wellbeing of the individual.