Career options for athletes don’t always have to be on field

Ryan Schulman, Staff Writer

While one may not play a sport in college, that does not mean there are no options for them to stay involved in sports. There are multiple programs involving sports to choose from and many colleges offering them. 

Some athletes either are not competitive enough to play at the college level or simply do not want to. Consequently, they have to find other activities to do. 

The website BigFuture talks about some alternatives. They list majors related to sports in which one can pursue to stay involved: “Athletic Training, Business Administration and Management, Exercise Science, Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies, Physical Education Teaching and Coaching, Pre-Physical Therapy, Professional Golf Management, Sports Communication.”

There are a plethora of majors to choose from, but these are some of the most popular options.  It is possible to take these majors and turn them into a lucrative career after college.  

For instance, in Marketing Management, one would assess market demand for products and see what can be done to meet those demands. Are fans demanding a certain player’s jersey?  Do fans want the tennis skirt worn by a pro?  The goal is to track trends and ensure fans get what they want whether it’s wearable items or television commercials. The field brings in an average home run salary of $136,000 annually.

Stats are important to teams as well.  It can reveal a player’s value to the team and can make them more attractive for recruitment.  If one has a love of both sports and math, becoming a statistician is an option. In this position, one would calculate an athlete’s stats and see what can be done to improve their record. Most employers would be looking for a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics, but the job pays pretty well. On average, statisticians receive $92,000 each season.

Others dream about going into science while staying connected to sports. A rigorous, but rewarding career choice could be an orthopedic surgeon. This specialty of surgery deals with healing the musculoskeletal system using physical therapy combined with surgery. Although the average annual salary of orthopedic surgeons according to is $493,770, one must go through rigorous course work and years of training to be a part of this field.   

Likewise, individuals with a passion for writing can start careers in sports communications or sports journalism. Sports communications deals with sideline journalists and on-air announcers. For this option, one needs prior knowledge of the sport and should have played it for an extended period of time, building a reputation in the sport. One of the best colleges for sports journalism is Syracuse University in New York. The program is top-notch and will have you prepared to tackle any story or broadcast. 

Professional journalist, Rebecca Renner, weighs in her opinion about sports journalism and communication based on experience. 

“If you want to be one of the on-air announcers calling plays or describing the action on the field, choose a sports communication major,” explained professional journalist Rebecca Renner.  “Usually housed within journalism or communication programs, the sports communication major will teach you how to write and speak more effectively on the subject of sports.”

For those who want a more hands-on experience, one may consider sports medicine. Sports medicine is one of the fastest-growing fields, crowning it the most popular option from all the alternative paths. Sports medicine professionals work to prevent illnesses and injuries and subsequently, help athletes to improve themselves.

Central students can get a head start and see if they have an interest in this field by joining the Sports Medicine Club run by Coach Powell. 

“The Sports Medicine Club is beneficial because not only does it teach you how the body functions, but it also helps students gain opportunities to aid injured athletes,” expressed member and sophomore Gabriella Thomas. “All in all, joining the sports medicine club was one of the best experiences I have had in high school.”

According to, the best colleges for sports medicine are Southern California University, the University of Virginia, Pittsburgh University,  Michigan University, and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Similar to sports medicine, physical therapy is a strong career to consider. There is a 22 percent job growth for physical therapy, otherwise known as PT. In the past two years alone, there were over 247,700 jobs available. 

While physical therapy is only one branch of sports medicine, there are many more: sport psychology, athletic training, and exercise psychology.

When choosing your major and future careers, allow your passions to shine through. Choose what is best for you and will keep you happy and involved in sports. 

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