Transitioning Out of Sport for Collegiate Female Athletes: Individual and Organizational Implications

Kristi F. Oshiro – Belmont University
Ashlyn Hardie – Texas A&M University
Marlene Dixon – Texas A&M University

Despite the growing literature on athlete identity and transition, less work has focused on how this intersects with body image and the implications this creates for sport managers. The purpose of this study is to understand the changes and challenges that retired female athletes endure as it pertains to body image and the supports they suggest are useful for a healthy transition away from sport. Twenty former female college athletes participated in semistructured interviews. The findings revealed taking a break, navigating identity crisis, and relearning and rebuilding were salient challenges. In addition, participants felt a lack of organizational support present in their own transition and provided recommendations that can help address this. By understanding the lived experiences and recommendations put forth, sport managers, particularly those within intercollegiate athletic departments can be better equipped to serve, support and assist current and future college athletes in their transition away from sport at both the individual and organizational levels.