Transitioning Out of Sport: The Psychosocial Effects of Collegiate Athletes’ Career-Ending Injuries
Authors: Amber L. Stoltenburg, Cindra S. Kamphoff, and Karin Lindstrom Bremer
Abstract: Career-ending injuries constitute a unique type of transition that any athlete may face (Wylleman, Alfermann, & Lavallee, 2004). Therefore, the intent of this qualitative study was to examine the psychosocial effects that accompany an athlete’s transition out of sport due to a career-ending injury. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven Division I and II athletes who experienced a career-ending injury in the last five years. After a comprehensive and extensive analysis of the interview transcripts, five themes emerged: 1) Consequences of the injury, 2) Social support, 3) Athletic identity, 4) Nature of the injury, and 5) Pre-retirement planning. In general, findings indicated that athletes experienced a wide array of both positive and negative emotions triggered by the realization that their sport career had come to an end. Findings support the Conceptual Model of Adaptation to Career Transition (Taylor & Ogilvie, 1994).