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  • Writer's pictureASWIS

Support for Athletes in Their Post-Sports Career

Elite athletes train extensively for years and in many cases sports consume most of their young lives. Oftentimes athletes are making extensive personal sacrifices in order to pursue their dreams of glory. For many, sports have allowed athletes to leave unhealthy living and family situations in addition to assisting others in need. Athletes have sacrificed many things including: finances, moving away from family to train full-time in academies, calling time on their academic studies and personal or romantic relationships. For many athletes, retirement is a concept that they do not wish to think about in detail. However, whether they have achieved Olympic glory or failed to reach the highpoint in their sport that they had aspired to, all athletes’ careers will eventually end, whether this is through age, exhaustion or injury.

When athletes retire/stop their sport career regardless of what level, it is natural to experience loss. A few components of these losses are:

  • Structured, scheduled daily exercise

  • Social connection to teammates

  • Common purpose, belonging

  • Prepared meals – ready when you are

  • Identity as an athlete

  • Immediate access to elite medical care

  • Popularity and fame

  • Body Image

How Social Workers Get Involved:

Provide healthy transition conversations

Explore the athlete’s support system

Provide examples of other athlete’s transitioning from their sport

Explore alternate career interest athletes have

Provide appropriate local resources

Facilitate workshops for athletes if connected to a school or entity[TN1]

Resources & Supportive Readings

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