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Outside the bubble

Two veteran sociologists team up with a former NFL linebacker and doctoral-program graduate to create the first comprehensive study of life after professional football On the spring day in 2012 that former Green Bay Packers linebacker Dr. George Koonce completed his Marquette doctoral dissertation on the difficulties National Football League players encounter transitioning beyond football, the sports world received a jarring reminder of those difficulties. With a gunshot to his chest, Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau joined a growing list of ex-pros who have taken their lives. Despite the pride he felt about his dissertation that day, Koonce thought back to the sense of isolation

consuming him nine years earlier when he took a corner near his North Carolina beach house at three times the speed limit, landing his truck upside down in a ditch. By then, two years had passed since he’d played a productive 2000–01 season with the Seattle Seahawks, who’d nevertheless found another veteran to replace him. Months of “staying ready” for his next playing opportunity had marched on in an

By Stephen Filmanowicz Photos courtesy of Dr. George Koonce 0 4

marquette university discover 2015


Discover Research 2015