Sports Careers, Part 2
Pay to Play
Very few make it big in U.S. pro sports. The majority of professional athletes work in "farm systems," at basic salaries, or outside U.S. arenas, where income may be even lower. In such cases, the athlete has the additional burden of paying some or all of his or her own expenses.
In the year 2000, the median income of athletes was $32,700, with the lowest income being below $12,630. In addition, of 129,000 total sports workers, only 19,000 were athletes. With these eye-openers in mind, consider some other factors of the athlete's lifestyle:
- Work hours are often irregular and travel may be extensive.
- Private life must come second to the priorities of a sports career.
- Job security is nearly non-existent due to competition and injury.
- Career-ending injuries are a constant threat.
The ADD Challenge
ADHD symptoms are a factor in any career choice, and individuals with ADHD have unique symptoms with which they struggle. But there are modifications and accommodations that can often offset ADHD as a job barrier. Here are some of the issues a person with ADHD will need to address in a professional-sports career:
- Staying on schedule. This might not matter in sports where managers and coaches do the planning. But in individual sports, such as tennis, golf, or bowling, scheduling may be a challenge. Charting daily routines or using task checklists can help.
- Paying attention. An athlete who cannot stay focused may miss an important rule, regulation, or other information relevant to sports success. This might be offset, however, with the use of personal data electronics to instantly record pertinent information.
- Being organized. If, for example, an athlete can't find his equipment or loses a part of his uniform, play could be affected. Checklists, special containers, and closet organizers are tools for an ADD athlete.
- Maintaining memory. Players need to remember specific techniques and plays. However, memory may be improved by the use of personal coaches, time reminders, and mnemonic techniques.
- Socializing appropriately. Good team interaction is essential to success in many sports. By working with a therapist, counselor, or coach, social behavior can be enhanced by learning to read non-verbal cues, curbing impulsive or inappropriate responses, and learning to be mindful of others' feelings.
Remember that the degree to which these adaptations succeed in leveling the playing field depends on other factors, such as motivation, support systems, and history of success in these areas.
When considering any career, particularly a glamour career, thorough research is essential. Work with a career counselor to see if the fit is there. This will help your child see if his dream of a sporting life can become a reality.