07 October 2013

Life After Sport Conference


By Lucy Morgan                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Photos: 110Percent

The WRPA recently attended the PPF (Professional Players’ Federation) conference on Life After Sport.

As part of our membership of the organisation we were invited to the conference to hear presentations, discussions and analysis on the challenges facing professional sports people upon their retirement and what Players Associations can do to help players adjust to life away from their sport.

The conference was attended by a number of key player associations covering a wide range of sports.

One of the key sessions of the day was recorded by BBC Radio 5 Live and is due to be broadcast on 9th October. In this compelling session, former England cricketer Graeme Fowler and former rugby player Duncan Bell shared their personal experiences of depression, speaking openly about the impact that depression has had on their lives.

The conference also gave the PPF the opportunity to share the results of a major study into the wellbeing of retired professional sportspeople, believed to be the most significant cross-sport study of its kind ever conducted.

The in-depth study covered almost 1200 respondents; all of them retired professional cricketers, footballers, rugby players (both Union and League) and jockeys.

The research indicated five key factors which determine how well sportspeople adapt to life after sport:

1. Their satisfaction with their sporting career;

2. Preparation for the future while playing;

3. Retiring on their own terms, as opposed to being forced to retire through injury or failure to

secure a playing contract;

4. The quality of their transition, and the support they receive during this period; and

5. The speed with which they regain control of their lives.

Said Brendon Batson, MBE, Chairman of the PPF, “This important study emphasises the challenges professional sportspeople face in retirement, and it is critical that we help them adjust to life out of the spotlight”

Zoe Eaton, Player Development Manager for the WRPA, attended the conference and said, “It was great to see so many organisations in attendance and to see how much work is being carried out in the area of athlete transition and mental health awareness – whether that be through the education of players and athletes about the different types of mental illness or the various support systems being provided to those athletes who need help. 

“There were some very hard-hitting case studies throughout the day, with former athletes talking about their personal experiences.  This is a sensitive area in which practitioners work on a regular basis and any developments towards raising awareness of the various issues that can be encountered will hopefully help future athletes when they face transitions in their own sports careers. 

"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the PPF for organizing the conference and to all those participating in the various forums during the day.”


Further Reading:

Mark Hovell: The Reality of Life after Sport


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