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Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology$
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Jeffrey J. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190638054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190638054.001.0001

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Leaving Sport

Leaving Sport

(p.79) 8 Leaving Sport
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology

Jeffrey J. Martin

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the unique difficulties that disabled athletes face upon leaving sport. For instance, because athletes with disabilities tend to have less social connectedness than that of able-bodied athletes, further reducing it upon leaving a team may be problematic. Retiring athletes also experience numerous barriers to fitting in lifestyle physical activity and formal exercise. Hence they are at risk for overweight, obesity, and associated hypokinetic diseases. Athletes with disabilities are often intensely committed to sport, have strong and sometimes exclusive athletic identities, and disregard other important aspects of life. As a result, upon leaving sport they might experience a range of negative emotions, such as loss of self-esteem. At the same time, many athletes make the transition out of sport with relatively minor anguish. In some cases athletes look forward to leaving daily hard practices behind and embrace the opportunity to have more time to pursue other interests. For some athletes the difficulty of a transition is eased by remaining in sport as a coach or manager. Government programs are being developed for elite-level athletes , such as career assistance programs, to help athletes’ successful transition out of sport and into careers.

Keywords:   sport retirement, transition, athletic identity, social connectedness, team, coaching

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