Life after Rugby: negotiating the transition out of elite sport

Deb Agnew, Shane Pill, Liz Abery

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The purpose of this research project was to investigate retirement transition experiences of elite male National Rugby League (NRL) players to provide insight into challenges faced and to understand what resources are needed to develop a model of after-care support for NRL players when facing life beyond professional sport. Specific areas of investigation included: life as an elite athlete including benefits and challenges, perception of personal identity, preparation for
retirement, transitioning to retirement experiences, and how those experiences could best be supported.

Qualitative research methods utilising a life history approach through in-depth interviews with 21 retired premier league male NRL players were applied. The impact of retirement from elite sport was explored, however, to contemplate transitioning to retirement experiences it was important to also consider personal and professional impacts from participants’ playing careers, to what
extent they were prepared for retirement, and ultimately what could have been done to make that process as uncomplicated as possible in supporting player wellbeing prior to and during the process.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherFlinders University
Commissioning bodyAustralian Rugby League
Number of pages63
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Rugby
  • professional sport
  • transition
  • National Rugby League


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