Institute of Sports Science


New insights on dual careers in sport

Verena Burk investigates together with international colleagues the dual career phenomenon in high-performance sports.

Athletes have the right to combine their sport and higher education careers (e.g., dual career), but differences in the recognition of the student-athlete’s status and availability of dual career programs and services exist worldwide.

The objective of an international study by Verena Burk (University of Tübingen) and several colleagues from Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Taiwan was to investigate the dual career phenomenon through the lens of student-athletes competing at the 2017 Summer Universiade.

Results show, that long absence from classes and financial uncertainty were among the most named problems in combining studies and elite sport. Moreover, the majority of the sample mentioned not to be familiar with dual career programs at all, envisaging national dual career policies at university and sport levels.

The study concludes that in order to strengthen the potential of the student-athletes in the future, a dual career network should be established among several stakeholders, for transnational cooperation and sharing of knowledge and best practices through extensive communication between policy-makers, practitioners and those having a strong supportive dual career role (e.g., parents, coaches, and university sport staff).

The corresponding research paper was recently published in PLOS ONE.

Condello, G., Capranica, L., Doupona, M., Varga, K. & Burk, V. (2019). Dual-career through the elite university student-athletes’ lenses: The international FISU-EAS survey. PLOS ONE, 14(10): e0223278.