December 2018 Educate Featured Carousel

Setting Sights: New app helps young athletes explore career options


Written By: Sanethia Thomas

Just about every junior high school boy who is a star at football or basketball is convinced he is NFL or NBA material.

As we all know, that’s an illusion. But rather than fight it, I’ve developed a computer app that helps elite athletes from age 11 to 14 explore career options.

I hook the kids by using an avatar called “Mike,” who is a former player in their sport, and Mike walks them through exploring all types of career options.

I created my software called I AM PRO through my research in athlete development and career identity.

The feedback from students has been gratifying. I get responses like:

  • “This is amazing.”
  • “All athletes should have this.”
  • “This is really helpful.”
  • “I didn’t know any of this. Thank you.”
  • “I got to know about careers that I didn’t know.”
  • “I feel like I have a plan going into high school.”
  • “I think this is great. I will tell my friends.”

My research is important because many young athletes get so heavily focused on building their prowess in their sport that they pay little attention to a future other than professional sports. By making my program relatable, I immediately gain buy-in from the athlete. The athlete then begins to think about alternative career options. They see former athletes as cool, and they realize that they can be just like them.

I’ve begun marketing I AM PRO, and I’m getting great response for making I AM PRO a part of existing athletic programs. This is just the beginning. I plan to customize I AM PRO for all sports. I also plan to have more applications to help athletes with mental health and financial literacy.

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