Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Mark A. Hector

Committee Members

Craig A. Wrisberg, Joel F. Diambra, Jacob J. Levy


The major objective of this research was to explore the experience of retiring from high school football. Previous research has neglected qualitative investigations of high school athletes’ experiences of retirement. High school football was chosen due to its popularity and importance in American communities. The purpose of this study was to give participants an opportunity to voice their experiences of retiring from high school football so that others may be better able to understand and learn from their experiences.

The phenomenological method was used to interview ten retired high school football players identified as elite based on team and individual statistics. These interviews were then transcribed and analyzed by a phenomenological research group looking for themes that existed among the ten participants. Themes emerged on the ground of Missing & Reminiscing, which set the context for the study. The themes included The High School Football Player, The Others, and The Spotlight, each of which contained sub-themes. The ground, themes, and sub-themes are outlined and described in detail, with quotes from the participants provided to exemplify each one.

This research provides a clearer understanding of the experience of retiring from high school football so that counselors, coaches, parents, and athletes can take steps toward having a successful and constructive retirement. The current study has been used to facilitate counseling and workshop efforts with both current and retired athletes.

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