There are many cases depicting the transition between sports and what readers might call a “normal life”. Many of them go from the pitch — or equivalent — directly to the business world either as entrepreneurs or counselors. Most professional athletes have none to little idea of how to live the rest of their lives, however, there are a few who have managed to live a fulfilling and successful “normal life”. Professional athletes are usually so focused on what they are currently living, that they unintentionally disregard the fact that the sports life is rather short, and that they have to prepare themselves for what comes next after leaving the field.
In the case of professional football, the amount of time they actually spend on the pitch with respect to the rest of their life is quite short: the average sports life is due by age 33. In the case of physically demanding sports, like football, the age drops to as young as 28. But if there is something all athletes — at least, many of them — have in common, is their incapability to answer a simple question: what comes next? Although there are lots of counselors that strive to help players find out what to do once their careers are done, what is important is for players to start thinking about this by themselves much sooner than later; this is why, in the case of football, there are pacts between the National Football League and universities so that players can get educated in their field of interest, supported by the existent management and entrepreneurial programs, given the fact that the world’s economy is moving towards a fourth industrial revolution.
Readers might have heard before the saying that states that athletes die twice: once they retire and at the end of their lives. Using the first scenario, it suggests that athletes must come back to life to figure out how to spend the days they have got left before they die for the second time and find out how they are going to make a living for the next 25 to 40 years. There are lots of cases where retired athletes went on bankruptcy short after their retirement. In most cases, the combination between youth, fame and money ends up in a very pejorative aftermath, which is why the National Football League is working alongside educational institutions to thoroughly prepare athletes for their non-sports life in order to avoid the increment of the percentage of retired football players who are currently bankrupt or unemployed: 70% within two years after quitting the game. Once is time, once is gone and over, it is highly advisable for players to have a plan or, at least, a general outline for the future, increasing the odds of avoiding financial and employment issues.
To this date, more than 250 athletes have gone through different programs in order to achieve this milestone: harnessing their discipline, and seizing the characteristics they have that make them unique sports woman and women, i.e.: leadership, commitment, dedication, the time they have to put into it, has been considered an asset for the future for being capable of running a successful business is very much like being a professional athlete. If athletes learn how to shift the skills required for their sport and apply them to the business or the “normal life”, the odds of succeeding are much higher, and the learning and adaptation process is less tough.
The message for athletes is summed up in the following words: this is the time to build a legacy — not only in their respective sports —. Athletes must understand that they are more than just that: athletes.
The sports life will always be a great opportunity. Athletes stand the chance of earning a lot of money, and, even though 70% of them end up bankrupt or unemployed, it does not necessarily mean that life after sports is bad news. That is why it is so important to get educated and develop an outline for the future since, earning a lot of money does not make athletes the next Warren Buffet. And, according to what most athletes have done in order to pay the bills, there are several advices for the life after retirement. Many of them seize the market of endorsements, like Tiger Woods, who has made almost 70 million dollars in endorsements. Or they can also transition into another career. It can be related to the sport they used to practice, or even if they are feeling more adventurous, they can always try to hit the big screen like Michael Jordan in Space Jam. Jason Hanold has mentioned before that the post-athlete-career threshold is full opportunities, however, athletes must find the motive and the time to train themselves to see those opportunities whenever their career is over.