High-performance athletes’ transition out of sport: developing corporate social responsibility



Hong HJ & Fraser I (2023) High-performance athletes’ transition out of sport: developing corporate social responsibility. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics.

This study investigates high-performance athletes’ experiences of transitioning out of sport and the support provided to them and describes how the findings suggest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives which may inform the development of sport policies addressing issues surrounding sport career transitions. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data exploring athletes’ lived experiences of adapting to life after sport. Purposive sampling was applied to 20 retired high-performance athletes (10 male; 10 female), from six different countries, representing 11 Olympic sports. The causes of career termination are found to be multifaceted, with the findings indicating different factors such as ‘feelings of reaching saturation point’, shifts in priorities, decreased self-awareness of performance, policy changes (e.g. reductions in funding, changes in coaching personnel), and significant singular events such as crucial losses to key rivals. Lost goals and identity and a lack of pre-retirement planning were considered as major challenges post-retirement. Refocusing and developing new priorities in life and the importance of seeking support were highlighted in discussions on coping with life post-transition. The findings demonstrate that high-performance athletes require support and care from sport governing bodies and social support providers in adapting to post-athletic life. The implications of these findings for CSR initiatives and their relevance to the policymaking process are discussed.

Career transitions in sport; corporate social responsibilty; high-performance athletes; organisational support; social support

International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics

StatusIn Press
Publication date online31/08/2023
Date accepted by journal25/07/2023
PublisherInforma UK Limited

People (2)


Professor Ian Fraser

Professor Ian Fraser

Emeritus Professor, Accounting & Finance

Dr Hee Jung Hong

Dr Hee Jung Hong

Senior Lecturer, Sport