Retiring from sports is a life-changing event that can leave a champion devastated even after years of winning trophies. It is not easy to move from the limelight and all the trappings that come with it to life as an ordinary person. This post discusses some of the strategies former sports personalities have used to cope with the transition.
Mental Health Problems
Most retired athletes experience mental health issues immediately after retiring. The conditions range from mild disorders to full-blown depression. Indeed, psychologists view the transition as a traumatic event.
That is why retiring sports persons should have a support group that looks after them and helps them cope with the change. The assistance can come from family members, psychologists, or professional sports associations.
Retired sports personalities advise active peers to have a farewell event. Such an occasion enables them to release pent up emotions before retiring. Getting closure is vital for both sportspersons who retire voluntarily and those who have career-ending injuries. It helps them go through the natural grieving process instead of postponing it.
For most retired sportspersons, starting a new venture helps them cope with the loss. The project can be as simple as settling down to start a family. Other options include coaching budding athletes, punditry and working as a consultant. These activities give them a sense of focus and purpose in life.
Several former athletes have successfully transitioned to new fields. For example, former Australian swimmer, Melanie Wright, joined a medical school after retiring. She credits the seamless transition to her father, who always advised her to explore the world outside swimming.
Therefore, athletes should not suppress their other aspirations even as they continue to participate in professional sports. Instead, they should keep growing by attending part-time classes and acquiring professional accreditations to facilitate the transition.