3 Ways Athletes ‘Leave the Game’…And What To Do About It

The transition from sport is difficult.



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John Register, courtesy of the transition playbook for athletes

“Not being able to be on the field of play is like losing a limb.”

This is according to All-American, Military Veteran, Olympian and Paralympian, John Register.

If anyone can speak with authority on what that means, John can.

He lost his left leg in a training accident.

John shares his experience and advice in The Transition Playbook for ATHLETES: How Elite Athletes WIN After Sports.

Here’s an excerpt from his chapter on the challenges he faced and what he did about it-

“Loss of identity is real.

Not being able to be on the field of play is like losing a limb.

I know, I went through an amputation which temporarily ended my days as an athlete. It also ended a portion of my dreams.

I was no longer going to be an Olympic hurdler. You can’t run hurdles with one leg. And I was no longer going to be a military officer.

My advice is to know who you are outside of sports. You might not want to hear this now, but athletes get out of the game in one of three ways:

  1. They win all the medals and age catches up with them.

  2. A new crop of talent comes in and they can’t compete.

  3. They are shut down because of injuries.

My first retirement from Olympic sport came after an accident which resulted in the amputation of my left leg. My second retirement, this time from Paralympic sport, came because my body just could not endure the physical stress of working out.

Ensure you engage with your other interests regularly. This will make the transition easier.”

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John’s experience is just one example of how quickly an athlete’s lifecycle can end.

Loss of that identity fundamentally changes how you view yourself and your place in the world. This is the reality of it.

You are no longer who you used to be.

Some athletes are lucky enough to retire on their own terms. Many others are not.

How can we cope?

John pursued his other passions. He dreamt new dreams. By making time for other pursuits, he found his passion as a Professional Keynote Speaker.


To find more advice from Register and other insights from 100+ Elite Athletes, including 25 Olympians, check out:

 The Transition Playbook for ATHLETES here: www.thetransitionplaybook.com or https://amzn.to/30hhFaC


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