IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 18 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1803063
Open Access Original Research
Retirement of disabled athletes: an exploratory study on causes and consequences in national athletes of Korea
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1 Department of Recreation & Leisure Sports College of Sports Science, Dankook university, 31116 Chonan, Republic of Korea
2 Department of Football Management, Munkyung College, 36930 Gyeongsangbuk-do, Republic of Korea
*Correspondence: (Youngin Won)
J. Mens. Health 2022, 18(3), 63;
Submitted: 13 November 2021 | Revised: 6 January 2022 | Accepted: 13 January 2022 | Published: 2 March 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: The purpose of this study was to explore the reasons athletes with disabilities retire, their retirement process, and their life after retirement in view of the difficulties they may encounter after retirement. This study was conducted as a qualitative study. Methods: 10 retired para-athletes from Korean national teams were selected as research participants through the snowball extraction method. The procedure consisted of a group interview and an individual interview over a total of four stages. For systematic interpretation suitable for the purpose of the study, the collected data were classified and interpreted using domain analysis and taxonomic analysis among cultural analysis methods. Results: Firstly, athletes with disabilities retired for four reasons: declining physical strength and performance, neglecting injuries, difficulties maintaining their livelihood, and a lack of business-sponsored sports team. Second, the retirement process experienced by disabled athletes appeared in three stages: a temporary retirement phase, an incomplete retirement phase, and a full retirement phase. Third, after athletes with disabilities have retired, their lives change. Although the participants enjoyed positive aspects of retirement including a rest period, they also experienced feelings of absurdity, regret, and alienation from the processes involved in social adaptation. Conclusions: The findings revealed that national athletes with disabilities retired because of a decline in physical strength and performance, neglecting their injuries, their inability to maintain their livelihood, and a lack of business-sponsored sports teams. Second, the retirement process of athletes with disabilities encompassed three stages: temporary retirement, incomplete retirement, and full retirement. Third, their retirement adaptation patterns included extra leisure time, feelings of absurdity, regret, and isolation, and financial difficulties. The study provides basic data on the retirement of athletes with disabilities for future studies.

Disabled athlete
Reasons for retirement
Retirement process
Life after retirement
Sports retirement
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