Factors Impacting the Retirement Experience of Professional Football Players
Locher, Julianne Marie
Professional athletes are at unique risk for difficulties during retirement due to factors such as early retirement age, identity change, and financial instability. Due to factors such as the high physicality of the sport, majority minority presence, and large public viewership of football, retired NFL players are especially at a higher risk for negative retirement experiences. A review of the available published literature on retirement of NFL players revealed the six most impactful factors in shaping football players’ retirement experience, primary identity, health, retirement decision, meaningful post-employment activity, financial status, and available support resources. Eight case studies of former players, four Caucasian and four African-American, were conducted to analyze the role these factors played in the players’ retirement experiences. Out of the six factors, health, available support resources, and financial status were the most salient contributors to the quality retirement experiences they had. From this, it was concluded that changes in the current NFL system are needed to better protect players’ physical and mental health and to prepare them for retirement in terms of financial planning courses and networking workshops.