The bright lights, screaming fans and the growth in one’s popularity are just some aspects associated with sports, but what happens when the noise dies down and those lights shut off?
For many athletes it’s a challenge to find and create a name for themselves when it’s time to hang up their uniforms.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, fewer than 2 percent of NCAA student-athletes go on to be professional.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University softball player Athena Andrews says picturing a future for herself without softball is hard.
“It’s hard to imagine, honestly, but I do have other aspirations,” the biology pre-medicine major said. “I hope to be a veterinarian and have my own office.”
Some student athletes say thinking about a career outside of sports can be intimidating, but others are prepared.
Aashon Larkins, a Special Teams Analyst for the University of Michigan and former Leigh University football player, said he didn’t began thinking about a life after sports until his last year of college.
“My advice would be to make sure you network in college,” he said. “There are so many people who know people that you’re in class with every day. We get our certain group of friends and create a bubble and miss opportunity.”
Mechanical engineering major and FAMU football player Christopher Sanders II said he hasn’t had much trouble imagining success outside of sports.
“Creating a name for myself outside of athletics was never intimidating for me because of the way I was raised,” Sanders said. “I was always taught to rely on academics before athletics. With this goal I paid more attention to my future career in mechanics more so than popularity in athletics.”
FAMU football player Rasean McKay said his involvement in sports has helped him in other realms as well.
“Life is not all about what goes on between those white hashes,” the criminal justice major said. “Football teaches you about life. You can use the same work habits you use in football and apply them to everyday life. Stick to the master plan you first started off with playing sports and apply them to when you’re trying to get a job.”
For many of these athletes, their sport is who they are and all they’ve known. Many of them also shared that playing sports does not last forever, education and versatility does.