Professional athletes live in the limelight. The media keeps us up to date with their lives throughout their careers. But, what we don’t know is what happens when they set aside their sports careers. Let’s take a look at the lives of professional athletes, after professional sports.
Injuries can be severe, lingering even after the players are done with professional sports
Sports professionals have it made. High dollar salaries, popularity, and sometimes eternal fame in the hearts of their fans. The glory of sports has a price. Many are plagued by injury after professional sports. The NFL is one of the best examples of this — players take so many blows to the head they often suffer from memory loss or dementia. In fact, they are 19 times more likely to develop these conditions than the average person. They have taken more precautions after players filed a class action lawsuit against the league, yet so many suffered from injuries they were forced to pay a large sum to the complainants.
Many become philanthropic
The large sums of money garnered by over-sized stadiums and lucrative contracts allow the players to be charitable in their retirement, or during their career. Cristiano Ronaldo famously paid for a dying boy’s medical treatment after he asked for a pair of shoes before he died. Many of the wealthiest players have become pillars of their communities, while there are a few who wind up in the press with one legal issue or another — your coworkers might too if they were professional sports players.
Some go broke
Mike Tyson was once a world champion boxer that took in 30 million dollars for one fight. As his career declined however, he spent his fortune and eventually went bankrupt. We’ve seen this from other stars as well, but none have rebounded as effectively as Tyson. After biting off the ear of an opponent in one fight, he went on to cameo in The Hangover trilogy. However, Tyson is not the best role model for your children — he was once quoted in a press conference as saying “I’ll eat your children.”
They never leave the field, mat, or quidditch pitch
Did you know quidditch is a real sport now? Seriously, look it up — they hold a US World Cup, though it should be called a national cup as there are only American teams and it’s held in the States. If you’ve played sports for as long as a professional player, you will know that the sport will always be in you. Whether you’re a wrestler that takes well to an octagon, or a rugby player that finds himself in the NFL, sports will enrich your life. Many find themselves coaching young players that will become what they used to be.
The turnover rate is insane — you might already know a former professional sports player
You can’t retire at 65 from a football team. As long as you can perform well enough to keep up with people in their early 20s, you might have a job. Not every sport is as grueling on the body as football. Gary Player from South Africa has the distinction of being the only pro golfer that isn’t American to achieve a career grand slam. Gary played into his 70s. You really can’t ask more from life than golfing for a job till you’re in your old age. That’s likely what he had planned for his retirement anyways.
Where are they now?
If you feel like you haven’t seen your favorite player in some time, whether they haven’t been listed in a news article, or their faces aren’t on the television anymore, you might want to go to a stadium or venue. Your childhood idol has not died — trust me, the media would have told you. If you don’t want to wait for a sighting when they are entered into a hall of fame or other honorary museum, you might want to go to the place where they used to play. Most of them have stayed in the city that cheered for them in some way. They might just return to visit a past glory, or they might be everywhere you look (even on your shoe)!
Featured photo credit: tableanty via flickr.com