Can you hear the final whistle blow? Athletically speaking

thEvery aging athlete will eventually hear the final whistle blow.

Sports psychologists say that even though many athletes initially feel relief after finishing their athletic career, some still suffer depression and other mental-health issues for several years.

Personally speaking I believe I suffered from a mild case of depression after my latest knee surgery.  It was needed due to over use through out my athletic career.  Believe it or not there is a psychological phase that retired athletes go through that parallels the loss of a loved one or another tragic event.  Kinda crazy.

I found that replacing the competitive fire with another passion makes the transition easier.  Still not easy but a bit easier.

An interesting article entitled “Psychological effects of Retirement in Sport”.  Check it out at the link below.

Loss of Identity

A study by Lavallee & Grove (1997), identified that individuals with a high athletic identity at the time of retirement were more likely to experience a higher degree of  emotional adjustment difficulties.  Very interesting article.

There is a lot of focus needed to excel in athletics and that focus needs to be harnessed and directed to another avenue.  I know it sounds simple……but its challenging.

Another study I found – North and Lavallee (2004) – looked at how athletes plan their lives after retirement and found that after athletes retire they focus primarily on starting a professional career, taking a degree, having a family and enjoying life.

“Nothing could satisfy me outside the ring… there is nothing in life that can compare to becoming a world champion, having your hand raised in that moment of glory, with thousands, millions of people cheering you on.” – Sugar Ray Leonard

We need to change our identity from athletes to former athletes.  We should acknowledge the differences between them and learn how to prepare for them.  I look at the whole thing as a transition to the next chapter.  I enjoyed my athletic career and now I’m looking forward to understanding where we go from here.

Remember…..It’s only stuff


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