A Phenomenological Study Exploring Coping Responses Of Retired NCAA Athletes

A Phenomenological Study Exploring Coping Responses Of Retired NCAA Athletes

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Introduction and Review of Literature
It is the month of December or May in any given year. The final lineup for the game or match has been created and the competition begins. As teams face off, focus on the task at hand is where the athlete’s attention is centered. As the game or match draws to a close, one is victorious and accomplishes the master goal of winning a national championship. What occurs the following day, after the competition is over and the crowd’s roars dim? After facing this question personally, my interest lies on further exploration of this career termination process and how others are coping with it.
As the famous saying states, “All good things must come to an end”, this holds true with collegiate athletics. Founded by President Theodore Roosevelt, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is the governing body of college athletics and is host to 1,281 institutions within three divisions: Division I, Division II, and Division III (NCAA, 2013). High school players dream of playing their favorite sport in college. Although this may be a dream, the dream cannot last eternally. The NCAA limits the amount of player eligibility to four years (unless granted further years of play – i.e.: medical redshirt).
While for many, four years would seem like a substantial amount of time, what happens after those for years? According to a study completed by the NCAA (2013), the odds of being drafted from college football to the National Football League is 1.6%, and from college baseball to Major League Baseball is 9.4%. For those who do not go on to play professional sports, which have no eligibility remaining, what happens to them? Much research has been conducted on the mental health status of current...

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... D., Statler, T., & Cote, J. (2009). ISSP position stand: Career development and transitions of athletes. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 7, 395-412.
Stephan, Y., Bilard, J., Ninot, G., & Delignieres, D. (2003). Repercussions of transition out of elite sport on subjective well-being: A one-year study. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 15 (4), 1-18.
Stier, J. (2007). Game, name and fame – Afterwards, will I still be the same?: A social psychological study of career, role exit and identity. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 42 (99), 99-111.
Wippert, P. & Wippert, J. (2010). The effects of involuntary athletic career termination on psychological distress. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 4, 133-149.
Wylleman, P., Lavallee, D., Alfermann, D. (1999). Career transitions in competitive sports. FEPSAC Monograph Series #1, 3-39.

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