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Lifestyles of past Australian Football League players: Comparison with the general population.

This study presents the findings from a survey of past AFL players on their general engagement with Australian Rules Football, as well as their educational and vocational training and longer term employment trends.

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Australian Football League (AFL) players retire for various reasons; some are voluntary decisions and others are forced upon players, often with little warning. The reasons for retirement can, in different ways, impact heavily on a player’s transformation from an elite athlete to a member of the general population. If retirement is voluntary, the level of planning towards retirement will often increase, allowing for a much smoother integration into the wider community (1). The level of planning becomes restricted when reasons for retirement are sudden and/or forced, whether it be through injury or de-listing, and this has been linked with greater distress of athletes when coping with the retirement process (2). Much of the research into this topic has focussed on the consequences of forced retirement and the impact planning can have on an athlete’s ability to successfully move through the retirement process. However, there is a lack of research in this regard in retired AFL players.

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