After the Play Ends: Brandon Ricketts


Creds: Brandon Ricketts and Sacred Heart University athletics

Anya Olson, Staff Writer

No matter the collegiate division an athlete competes in, saying goodbye to the sport they’ve played since childhood is no easy task. 

For Brandon Ricketts, a retired collegiate Division 1 athlete, the ability to accept help and find new hobbies is how he copes with life post-athletics. 

“I started playing football when I could walk,” said Ricketts. “My dad coached me, so I always worked really hard for him and for my teammates.” 

Brandon Ricketts grew up in New York, where his athletic career began. After years of his father coaching him, he began the recruiting process into Division 1 athletics. 

“There were moments on my recruiting trip that I was in tears wondering if I was even going to go to college,” said Ricketts. “But I ended up finding my way to Sacred Heart University, where I ended up playing and graduating from.” 

The recruiting process for an athlete can be challenging and confusing. The frustrating process forces one to pick the school that is best for them. Ricketts ultimately chose the college where he believed he would be the most successful and grow the most at. 

“I retired early due to injury, but the lessons I learned from my coaching staff and teammates are ones I will never forget,” said Ricketts. “Those lessons prepared me for life after football.” 

The most crucial part of choosing a college is finding one that allows one to grow as an athlete and a person. Ricketts was able to take advice and lessons from his collegiate experience and apply it to his life after graduation. 

“I’m constantly reminded by lessons I learned in college and applying them to everyday life,” said Ricketts. “Those lessons molded my attitude on how to figure things out and weather any storm.” 

Every college athlete’s playing days eventually come to an end. But, the lessons an athlete learns in college can always be taken with them and applied to their life post-athletics.

“There are so many coaches that I appreciate and think about today,” said Ricketts. “They’ve helped me learn lessons like asking and accepting help when I need it.” 

For most athletes asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness, but that shouldn’t be the case when help is a valuable tool. Many athletes struggle with asking for and accepting help after graduation because of this stigma. 

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without accepting well-needed help,” said Ricketts. “It’s really important to not be afraid to take help when it’s offered.” 

Rickett offers advice to anyone struggling with life post-athletics and references his life before a helping hand reached out to guide him. 

“Life post-graduation has been so richer because of the help I accepted,” said Ricketts. “It has led me to find a new community of people and hobbies I love.” 

After graduation he was offered the opportunity to live in Tampa, Florida where Ricketts has grown and prospered as a person. Ricketts has taken up photography as a new hobby thanks to the help he was offered. 

“Take help from good people and put yourself in a better situation,” said Ricketts. “If the help comes at the cost of hard work, don’t shy away.” 

No matter the athletic division, every athlete has to say goodbye to their sport. One way to make this transition easier is by accepting a little help along the way. 

To learn more about Brandon Rickett’s journey, click the link to his YouTube Zoom series episode.


About the author

Anya Olson is a senior mass communications student in her final semester. For her capstone she has created a Zoom series titled “After the Play Ends: Hanging the Cleats up”. Every week Anya interviews retired athletes and discusses the struggles they’ve faced after their sport ends. “After the Play Ends” is intended to be used as a resource for current athletes who may be struggling with similar topics. For full Zoom series episodes visit this link. For more information on Anya’s capstone check out her capstone Instagram @anyamariemedia