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Title page for ETD etd-03232016-112909

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Locher, Julianne Marie
Author's Email Address julianne.m.locher@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03232016-112909
Title Factors Impacting the Retirement Experience of Professional Football Players
Degree Master of Arts
Department Medicine, Health, and Society
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hector F Myers Committee Member
Kenneth T MacLeish Committee Member
  • football
  • retirement
  • athletes
Date of Defense 2016-02-29
Availability unrestricted
Professional athletes are at unique risk for difficulties during retirement due to factors such as early retirement age, identity change, and financial instability. Due to factors such as the high physicality of the sport, majority minority presence, and large public viewership of football, retired NFL players are especially at a higher risk for negative retirement experiences. A review of the available published literature on retirement of NFL players revealed the six most impactful factors in shaping football players’ retirement experience, primary identity, health, retirement decision, meaningful post-employment activity, financial status, and available support resources. Eight case studies of former players, four Caucasian and four African-American, were conducted to analyze the role these factors played in the players’ retirement experiences. Out of the six factors, health, available support resources, and financial status were the most salient contributors to the quality retirement experiences they had. From this, it was concluded that changes in the current NFL system are needed to better protect players’ physical and mental health and to prepare them for retirement in terms of financial planning courses and networking workshops.
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