The concept of player/athlete care is one that sparks debate amongst many. Gone are the days when athletes and sports stars were out of the public eye and just played the sport that they loved. The media glamorised sports and its stars to the point where they are now celebrities in their own right and have their every move scrutinised and watched. The physical and mental welfare of these stars seemed to be put to one side as their reputations and bank accounts grew. Following on from their playing days athletes have been seen to end up bankrupt, battle addiction and face many more issues.
According to reports more than 40% of professional footballers either end up bankrupt or face financial difficulties after retiring from the game. In the previous few years, there has been a much bigger discussion surrounding the care of athletes both during and after their playing careers. We at PSN are world leaders in this discussion and we are incredibly proud of that fact.
David Cotterill has battled with mental health problems since retiring from football and he is our Player Care ambassador.
But is the discussion and reporting of player care from some organisations leading to a negative spin and effect on the subject.?
Within the discussion of Player Care, there has been the increased use of the term ‘Life After Sport’. Even though the use of the phrase may have good intentions, the very meaning of the term carries the notion that after an athlete’s career there is nothing. The idea that after a short playing career that that life ceases to exist and they must embark on a new one outside of sport may have a damaging effect when they are at their most vulnerable. After all, imagine if you had to stop doing what you loved only to be told about life outside of what you know and feel comfortable.
The EPL use the term ‘dual career’ which in reality carries a much more positive outlook on the retirement of an athlete. Many athletes may not be concerned about the terminology used to describe the days after their career but it would be more inclusive for the ones who do.
High profile cases of athletes becoming lost after their careers need to become a thing of the past. And even though the terminology of the subject may only be a small step but we feel it’s one worth taking.