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Lifecycle Of An Athlete

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 28 March 2012

The career of elite athletes is generally fairly short, and in this final programme of the series, Claudia Hammond looks at life after competition.

She investigates life away from the headlines for the star performers when they finally give up their gruelling training schedules, and, assesses the long term physical and psychological impact of competing at the very top of their sport.

At the Centre for the Study of Retired Athletes at the University of North Carolina in the USA, she meets researchers tracking the long term health of former American footballers, and some of their findings are disturbing.

There are links between multiple concussions and depression and links between concussions and dementia.

Former Washington Redskins star, Ken Huff, describes the injuries and the physical toll of playing such a hard contact sport, but concludes he wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Retired Kenyan 10,000 metre former world champion, Moses Tanui, advises retiring athletes to keep active, take care of their money and take up golf, while Jamaican Olympic runner, Vilma Charlton, admits how hard it is to adapt to life out of the headlines.

(Image: Moses Tanui of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the men's division of the 1998 Boston Marathon. Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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