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.
James A. Holstein is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. He is the author, with Jaber F. Gubrium, of The Self We Live By: Narrative Identity in the Postmodern World. Richard S. Jones is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Athletics Representative at Marquette University. He is the author of Doing Time: Prison Experience and Identity with Thomas J. Schmid. George E. Koonce, Jr. played professional football for a decade, the majority of those years with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he won the Super Bowl XXXI title. After the NFL he held positions as Senior Associate Athletic Director and Director of Development at Marquette University, Athletic Director at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Director of Player Development for the Packers, and Special Assistant to the Athletic Director at East Carolina University. Dr. Koonce is currently Vice President of Advancement at Marian University.
CONTENTS Acknowledgments ix Introduction: "It's All Over!" 1 1 Pursuing "the Dream" 11 2 Inside "the Bubble" 45 3 The End 83 4 A Lifetime of Hurt 105 5 "All That Dough: Where Did It Go?" 139 6 What's Next? 169 7 Playing without a Playbook 199 8 Trials of Transition 217 Appendix 1: Methodology 251 Appendix 2: Retirement Benefits 255 Notes 261 Index 303 About the Authors 321
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- ID: 9781479862863
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