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Game Over: What Do Athletes Do After They Retire?

Although the game is over for some athletes, there is a life outside of sports. Understand post-sports life by reading about what athletes do after they retire.


Life begins to look different when it’s game over for former playersAnd it’s important to understand the new life of a retired athlete. If you’re wondering what athletes do after they retire, keep reading to find out!

Types of Retirement

All great things must come to an end, including sports careers. However, retirement looks different for every athlete. Some of the most common reasons to retire are due to age and physical fitness. When someone becomes older, their body can no longer compete at high levels.

Some of the more devastating reasons for retirement are illness, injury, or undergoing a release from their team. This involuntary departure can happen to young or seasoned athletes. And it’s frustrating if the player had more years to devote to the sport!

However, some departures are voluntary. When an athlete decides to leave on their own terms, they can break away from the sport and start new ventures. Recently, NFL player Khari Willis announced his departure to pursue a life in ministry.

Transitioning Into Normal Life

Many athletes begin their careers long before signing professional contracts. From Little League to college sports teams, stepping onto a floor isn’t the player’s first rodeo. Because they’ve devoted such a large portion of their life to the sport, retirement may be difficult. It’s challenging to adjust to normal life because normal life for athletes involved playing their sport.

Some athletes undergo a tough transition and experience depression or an identity crisis. Fortunately, therapy helps former players express their feelings and navigate their new normal.

Although leaving a professional career is tough, some athletes enjoy their post-team life. Spending time with family, picking up new hobbies, and traveling are great ways to spend retirement.

Financial Spirals

One interesting fact about the NBA is that a majority of the players end up broke. During their prime, money was no issue, and they could purchase luxury items. Nothing was off-limits, whether it was fancy cars, big homes, or an expensive education for their kids.

Retirement is much different compared to the lavish life they were used to living, especially for athletes who didn’t invest or save their money. Financial difficulties appear when there is not enough money for the individual to uphold their former lifestyle. Though retired athletes still earn more money than the average citizen, it’s not nearly as much as their peak earnings.

Staying Close to Their Roots

Though it’s game over for the former players, one thing athletes do after they retire is coach. After all, who knows the game better than a former player? Famous athletes turned coaches include Doc Rivers, Tom Flores, Jerry Sloan, and Mike Ditka.

Additionally, the coaching route isn’t the only way to go! Tons of former players write books about their careers, become sports commentators, or become motivational speakers for young athletes. Their expertise helps the new generation of professional players.

Life after sports is challenging for every athlete. But many find happiness through new ventures. And by understanding athlete retirement, former players and fans alike can acknowledge this new normal.

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