Candice Lingam-Willgoss (The Open University), David Lavallee (Abertay University) and Caroline Heaney (The Open University) recently wrote an OpenLearn article titled ‘Life after sport: giving back‘ exploring how retired athletes can use their transferable skills to ‘give back’ to society. The article supports the free Badged Open Course (BOC) The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport, which examines the psychological impact of the various transitions athletes face on their journey through sport.
As outlined in the article, retirement from sport can be a particularly challenging time for athletes which can have a negative impact on their wellbeing and mental health. Supporting athletes through career transitions and providing them with opportunities to ‘give back’ to society can help minimise the risk of negative responses and has benefits for both the athlete (e.g., self worth) and wider society.
Multiple Paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, a strong advocate for athlete welfare, and author of the 2017 government ‘Duty of care in sport review‘ report, had this to say about the ‘Life after sport: giving back‘ article:
“The OU have teamed up with Abertay University to produce a really valuable piece of work, first of all acknowledging that athletes go through many phases in their career. When you are on the outside looking in it is not always easy to see it. Retirement is hard for athletes who have dedicated often many years of their childhood and life to the sport so for them to understand how what they have learnt is transferable is really important. Often there is not much notice for an athlete approaching the end of their career and they don’t always have the time or inclination to prepare for it. But it can also be hard for athletes to recognise all the benefits they can bring to themselves and others using what they have learnt in sport. Starting the dialogue of what they can offer and how they can give back and benefit wider society it is a vital first step and is excellent to see such free learning available for athletes in helping them prepare for their life after sport.”