An article yesterday by New York Times sports writer, Greg Bishop, (click here to see the whole article: “Taking Vows in a League Blindsided By Divorce”) highlighted the problem of divorce among professsional football players.  The divorce rate hovers between 60 and 80 percent with 78% experiencing divorce, bankruptcy or joblessness within two years after they retire from playing football.  A list of temptations of professional athletes, not just football players:

rampant infidelity, women who target athletes, trophy wives, lifestyles not conducive to marriage and players being surrounded by entourages, which can discourage intimacy.

In addition, after the football career is over the couple has to reinvent themselves from being adored by fans to being invisible.  The husband, in particular, struggles with his own identity and often can become passive and withdrawn.  His wife struggles with how to cope with her husband’s lack of momentum thinking, “What happened to that dynamic guy I married?”

Divorces involving athletes often occur soon after retirement, when their bank accounts are swollen but their paychecks have disappeared, said Norm Evans, who started Professional Athletes Outreach with his wife, Bobbe, in 1971 as a way of easing the transition from the playing field. Evans retired in 1978 after a 14-year career as an offensive tackle, mostly for the Miami Dolphins. By 1987, the couple owned a struggling sports publication and were more than $100,000 in debt.

Bishop goes on to write that individual and marital counseling for former football players can help with the adjustment period and with their marriages:

Evans, who said he went to a counselor two weeks ago, recommended marriage counseling for athletes as soon as they finished playing, if not before.

Imagine that!?  Former Pro football players in marital therapy?  Awesome.  Soldiers in marital therapy?  You bet.  Firemen?  Yeah.  Police officers.  Yep.  Other independent, self-sufficient men types?  Yessiree.  Hey, you are not immune.  You don’t know everything.  Let’s get some bearings on this terrible, scarey and wonderful thing we call life.

Give us a call.  We don’t bite.


Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bing in Ames, Iowa click here

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