Retirement Transitions: Psychological Learnings from over 200 Retired Collegiate Athlete Stories


Each year, over 99% of collegiate athletes will end their sporting career within North America. This major life transition usually involves changes in identity, routine, and social support and athletes report struggling with feelings of loss, sadness, and anxiety during their transition to retirement (Cash et al., 2021). Given this, can the stories of retired athlete’s help inform coaches, athletic departments and sport educators on how to best support the wellbeing of athletes who will be entering this transition? Through a multi-method design - obtaining converging evidence from recall surveys and qualitative methods - the authors collected over 200+ retirement stories from retired collegiate athletes around North America spanning the 1970s - 2010s. This study sheds light on the experiences recorded from these athletes through qualitative inquiry and present possible ways of support for current athletes. This research has the potential to assist the lives of many collegiate athletes who transition to retirement and inform institutional programming while supporting those communities through prosocial behaviors.


Tiara A Cash
Student, PhD, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada

Angie Fan
Student, Undergraduate Psychology Honours Student, Simon Fraser University, Canada


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Sport and Health


Transitions, Athlete Retirement, Prosociality, Wellbeing

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