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Track Athlete Elise Anderson Helps Others Find Their Footing

Elise Anderson is a social influencer and athlete. She was training for the Olympics for team USA and planned to devote her focus to building a foundation later. Then the pandemic hit and changed her timeline.

Anderson created the Life After Sports Foundation to share the resources that she had access to while she was growing up. She comes from an athletic and philanthropic-minded family so this was a natural fit for her. Elise believes that anyone ready for guidance, not just athletes, can benefit from her foundation.

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Q&A with Elise Anderson

When did you know sports wouldn’t be your full-time career?

“Sports have been apart of my life for my entire life and it’s very weird now to be retired, somewhat retired, from track and field. I was running for Team USA, training for the Olympics before the pandemic happened, and that’s what propelled me into starting the foundation.”

How do you think a foundation like this would have helped you if it had existed when you were still in school?

“What’s funny is my parents have had a foundation for a long time called “Youth and Family Determined to Succeed. My parents have actually been helping kids get recruited for the last twenty years. This is something they molded us in. Both my parents were D1 athletes and my dad played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

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“My nonprofit, Life After Sports Foundation, I put the name behind that because that’s something we need: the entrepreneurship, the financial literacy, dealing with mental health, being a social influencer. That’s something I wanted to give back to others who weren’t as fortunate as myself growing up to have family who are athletes and started nonprofits. I want to be that advocate in the community here in Miami and in Minneapolis where I’m from.”

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Mental health is being talked about more by athletes. Have you noticed the stigma starting to shift?

“Yeah, it is. It’s starting to be more vulnerable. That’s why it’s really key in what we’re trying to do in Life After Sports Foundation is partner up with I Am Athlete podcast. They also highlight mental health.”

“It’s very important because once you’re done being an athlete, and you’ve been an athlete your whole life and you’ve always been identified as that, how do you deal with not being one?”

“It doesn’t mean your life’s over. It doesn’t mean you’re not identified as an athlete anymore. It’s about how can I utilize and monetize my athletic influence into the next step of my life.”

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Who would you like to see get involved with the foundation?

“I want to get some local things going on with the I Am Athlete podcast because I know that they are advocating for athletes for mental health and entrepreneurship. I think that would be cool.”

“We also want to get involved with different professional teams too because a lot of them don’t know how to manage their money or about financial literacy. It’s not a bad thing but it’s something that is very urgent that we need to understand and learn as early as we can.”

What are some skills that student athletes bring to the table that they may not realize they have?

“Woah, so many. You learn hard work, dedication, and time management. You don’t understand how much you are juggling, being an athlete. Time management is probably one of the biggest things because even now with all my businesses outside of the nonprofit, I juggle a lot.”

 

These responses have been condensed for clarity.

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