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OBJECTIVES: Retired professional cricketers shared unique experiences and may possess specific psychological attributes with potential to influence quality of life (QOL). Additionally, pain and osteoarthritis can be common in retired athletes which may negatively impact QOL. However, QOL in retired athletes is poorly understood. This study explores the following questions from the personal perspective of retired cricketers: How do retired cricketers perceive and experience musculoskeletal pain and function in daily life? Are there any psychological attributes that might enhance or hinder retired cricketers' QOL? DESIGN: A qualitative study using semistructured interviews, which were subject to inductive, thematic analysis. A data-driven, iterative approach to data coding was employed. SETTING: All participants had lived and played professional cricket in the UK and were living in the UK or abroad at the time of interview. PARTICIPANTS: Eighteen male participants, aged a mean 57±11 (range 34-77) years had played professional cricket for a mean 12±7 seasons and had been retired from professional cricket on average 23±9 years. RESULTS: Fifteen participants reported pain or joint difficulties and all but one was satisfied with their QOL. Most retired cricketers reflected on experiences during their cricket career that may be associated with the psychological attributes that these individuals shared, including resilience and a positive attitude. Additional attributes included a high sense of body awareness, an ability to self-manage pain and adapt lifestyle choices to accommodate physical limitations. Participants felt fortunate and proud to have played professional cricket, which may have further contributed to the high QOL in this group of retired cricketers. CONCLUSIONS: Most retired cricketers in this study were living with pain or joint difficulties. Despite this, all but one was satisfied or very satisfied with their QOL. This may be partly explained by the positive psychological attributes that these retired cricketers shared.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





osteoarthritis, pain manegement, qualitative research, resilience, sports medicine, Adult, Aged, Athletes, Attitude to Health, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Joints, Male, Middle Aged, Musculoskeletal Pain, Qualitative Research, Quality of Life, Resilience, Psychological, Retirement, Sports, United Kingdom