Career transitions in sport are inevitable and can be normative or non-normative. Thus, retirement experiences are significantly dependent on how the athletes perceive the circumstances surrounding their retirement. While the discontinuation of a sports career is an important transition, it is not the only transition faced by athletes. The aim of this study therefore, was to investigate the experiences of Australian footballers who are deselected from elite competition and return to sub-elite competitions. This study utilises narrative inquiry through a life history approach to explore the transition experiences of Australian footballers who return to the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) sub-elite competition. Ten footballers took part in semi-structured interviews covering topics including experiences in the national Australian Football League competition, the difficulties faced by footballers during the transition process back to the SANFL competition, the support needed by footballers during this period and the responsibility for player well-being. Lacking control over the timing of their transition compounds the loss experienced by the footballers. However, returning to state based competition offers important avenues for the reconnection of former support networks which can be a protective factor in achieving a smooth transition out of elite sport. This study highlights that the current processes for maintaining contact and supporting transitioning footballers are ineffective therefore proposes that the development of an exit transition programme would be beneficial.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 2017|