Olympic cycling champion Jack Bobridge jailed for dealing ecstasy in Perth. Could it have been avoided?
One of the leading charters for M5 is to provide strong support when athletes reach a point of retirement - be it planned or unexpected (injury). Our M5 clients such as Mathew Hayman (Cycling), Ky Hurst (Surf Champion), and Jessica Ashwood (Swimmer) are all beginning or currently going through this transition now.
The transition process to retirement is a very difficult time for any athlete, just the thought of making this decision can be paralyzing. Going from living within a high-performance bubble to something that is very unstructured is such an emotional and physical shift for our professional sportspeople, coaches and their coping mechanisms can be seriously depleted.
The elite Sportsperson and Coach often thrive on traits such as OCD, single-mindedness and ruthless ambition. However, these traits become destructive when they are no longer directed towards competing. If you then include insecurity, financial hardship and a declining sense of personal worth, you now have the ingredients for manifesting depression, anxiety and in Jack Bobridge case, drug addiction. This is further emphasized with the sudden availability of time that that was once committed to a 30 hour training week. I see it day-in and day-out with retiring athletes just having no idea of what to do with their next 2 hours of their day let alone the next 20 years of their lives
I can't help think that again we in the business of sport have failed in our duty of care. Our communities are littered with ex-pro athletes, football players, coaches that have just been used up by the federations and discarded to fend for themselves when their used by date has expired. We the managers/agents also need to take our share of responsibility. Let's see real education on helping retiring, injured, cast out athletes and coaches and not just box ticketing.