Date of Award

Winter 12-22-2020

Degree Name

MSEd in Physical Education

Department

Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

Abstract

Athletic retirement for an elite athlete can be one of the most significant if not scary moments of their life. The end of their athletic career begs major life decisions on where to go next and what will they do – who will they be if not an athlete? Therefore, the purpose of this synthesis project was to examine how athletic retirement affects elite athletes’ well-being. Data was collected using the EBSCOHOST search engine, found on SUNY- Brockport’s Drake Memorial Library online research website. A total of 10 critical mass articles were analyzed. From the critical mass the researcher identified factors which positively affected elite athletes and negative factors which led to difficulty in the retirement transition for elite athletes. A synthesis data coding table was created with the data from each article. The following three research questions were answered: (1) What positive factors made the retirement transition easier for the athlete?, (2) What negative factors made the retirement transition more difficult for the athlete? (3), and What impact did the termination have on the athletes’ overall quality of life? Results indicated that factors such as strong athletic identity and lack of planning/preparation for life after sport will result in a negative retirement transition and will affect the athletes’ overall quality of life in retirement. In contrast, factors such as autonomous retirement motivation, preparation/planning for life after sport, and strong social or organizational support during athletic retirement transitions for elite athletes will lead to a more positive experience and more perceived subjective well-being after retirement. These findings can assist athletic administrators in attempting to ensure positive retirement transitions and overall wellness for their former and current athletes.

Keywords: Athletic Identity, Disengagement, Elite Athlete, Autonomy

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