Sports stars may find retirement difficult

Sports stars who retire from their profession without making preparations beforehand may encounter difficulties and feel restricted when looking to change career. This is the suggestion of new research featured in the new Universities Week report, Supporting a UK Success Story: The Impact of University Research and Sport Development (page 31).

The study, which is of particular relevance following the recent retirements of snooker star Stephen Hendry and skeleton racer Amy Williams, was carried out by Professor David Lavellee, a Chartered Psychologist from the School of Sport at the University of Stirling.

According to the findings, athletes who are able to balance their training and competition with career development activities and further education tend to be more prepared for life after sport.

Professor Lavellee said: "The mental wellbeing of athletes is as important, if not more so, when they retire from competition. Athletes who focus exclusively on their sport can become role restricted and be more at risk of finding it difficult to change career. The athletes who were better prepared for life after sport managed to balance their education and career development alongside training and competition."

The research has been adopted by athlete lifestyle programmes around the world.