Cover image for Is there life after football? : surviving the NFL
Title:
Is there life after football? : surviving the NFL
Author:
Holstein, James A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : NYU Press, [2015]
Physical Description:
x, 321 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"Draws upon the experiences of hundreds of former players as they describe their lives after their football days are over. It also incorporates stories about their playing careers, even before entering the NFL, to provide context for understanding their current situations. The authors begin with an analysis of the 'bubble'-like conditions of privilege that NFL players experience while playing, conditions that often leave players unprepared for the real world once they retire and must manage their own lives. The book also examines the key issues affecting former NFL players in retirement: social isolation, financial concerns, inadequate career planning, psychological challenges, and physical injuries"--Amazon.com.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781479862863
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

A human face on the realities of professional football, from the challenges players face after leaving the NFL to the factors that can enable them to continue to find success

2016 Best Book Award, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Is There Life After Football? draws upon the experiences of hundreds of former players as they describe their lives playing the sport and after their football days are over. The "bubble"-like conditions of privilege that NFL players experience while playing, often leave players unprepared for the real world once they retire and must manage their own lives. The book also reveals the difficulties affecting former NFL players in retirement: social isolation, financial concerns, inadequate career planning, psychological challenges, and physical injuries. From players who make reckless and unsustainable financial investments during their very few high-earning years, to players who struggle to form personal and professional relationships outside of football, the stories in the book put a very human face on the realities of professional football. George Koonce Jr., a former NFL player himself, weaves in his own story throughout, explaining the challenges he encountered and decisions that helped him succeed after leaving the sport. Ultimately, Is There Life After Football? concludes that, despite the challenges players face, it is possible for players to find success after leaving the NFL if they have the right support, education, and awareness of what might await them.

Instructor's Guide


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Since the average professional football career lasts only 3.5 years, one would hope that the answer to the question posed in the title is: yes, there is life after football. Unfortunately, whether due to financial problems, physical disability, or depression, many players, in fact, fare poorly in making the transition to a regular life. Today's NFL players live in a veritable bubble; their daily routine is regimented, and they lead a glamorous but isolated life away from family and friends for months at a time. Sociology professors Holstein and Richard S. Jones team up with former Green Bay Packer and college administrator George E. Koonce to examine the factors that lead to success or failure when a player retires from pro football. While this is a rigorous and scholarly study, the authors present their findings in a very accessible manner, weaving narratives from hundreds of interviews together with information gleaned from direct observation, previous research, and stories in the media. A timely exploration that will be of interest to football fans looking to better understand the complex culture of the NFL.--Clark, Craig Copyright 2014 Booklist


Library Journal Review

In this timely book, Holstein (sociology; The Self We Live By), Richard S. Jones (sociology; Doing Time), and George E. Koonce Jr. (director of development), all from Marquette University, present an overview of what "life after football" is like for former players of the National Football League. The authors highlight the difficulties experienced by ex-NFL players that have been mentioned in the media over the last several years including suicides, concussions, and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). They also discuss how the NFL may not prepare players for a life outside the league. Retirement for these players often comes without warning and thrusts them into situations they have not encountered while sheltered in the professional "bubble," including dealing with chronic injuries, managing finances now that they aren't receiving large salaries, and just "living life" now that their schedules aren't planned down to the minute. Finally, the book addresses ways in which some players have successfully made the transition from the pros to the society experienced by most people. Verdict This book will be of interest to sports fans and others who have been following stories in the media about the NFL and its players, as well as sociologists who work with individuals making the transition from one life situation to another.-Nathan Rupp, Yale Univ. Medical Lib., New Haven, CT (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Sociologists Holstein and Jones (both, Marquette Univ.) and former NFL player, later college administrator, Koonce (Marian Univ.) detail and analyze the experiences of players both during and after their pro careers. Readers enter into the culture and mindset of the military-like regimentation of pro football and its antecedent, the world of college "jock majors." This book amplifies the work of others, such as editors Thomas Oates and Zack Furness's The NFL: Critical and Cultural Perspectives (CH, Jan'15, 52-2603), and Gerhard Falk's Football and American Identity (CH, Nov'05, 43-1635). It is timely considering the financial settlement the NFL reached in August 2013 with retired players for head injuries sustained at work, and the ongoing discussion over the physical dangers that football at all levels presents. Despite the many who give in to peer pressure, spending imprudently and behaving impulsively, the authors maintain that personal success is possible, even likely, with proper education, support, and financial planning conducted by professionals rather than by family members. Both sports enthusiasts and concerned readers can profit from the insights and lessons offered in this informative and prescriptive work. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. --Frederick J. Augustyn, Library of Congress


Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: "It's All Over!"p. 1
1 Pursuing "the Dream"p. 11
2 Inside "the Bubble"p. 45
3 The Endp. 83
4 A Lifetime of Hurtp. 105
5 "All That Dough: Where Did It Go?"p. 139
6 What's Next?p. 169
7 Playing without a Playbookp. 199
8 Trials of Transitionp. 217
Appendix 1 Methodologyp. 251
Appendix 2 Retirement Benefitsp. 255
Notesp. 261
Indexp. 303
About the Authorsp. 321