This study documented the lived career-ending injury experiences among elite Irish rugby football union (IRFU) players. Three players took part in semistructured one-on-one interviews. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, 1996) revealed that the process of psychosocial injury rehabilitation and the subsequent transition process was for the most part a distressing one and evolved in a cyclical, yet stage-like (Heil, 1994), manner. The nature of the postinjury career transition appeared to be dependent on the interactional balance of participants’ psychosocial responses to injury, existing coping mechanisms, and other factors related to the injury and career transition process. Appropriate social support network, use of sport medicine and counseling professionals, as well as organizational officials are needed to best prepare elite rugby players for life outside of sport, and to ensure a healthy career transition (Taylor & Ogilvie, 1994) out of sport.
Arvinen-Barrow is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI. Hurley and Ruiz are with the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.