Multiple and Multi-dimensional Life Transitions of World Transplant Athletes

Rienties, Bart; Roelen, Keetie; Oakley, Ben; Duncan, Elaine and Pengel, Liset (2025). Multiple and Multi-dimensional Life Transitions of World Transplant Athletes. In: Jindal-Snape, Divya ed. The Palgrave Handbook of Multiple and Multi-Dimensional Educational and Life Transitions. London: Palgrave MacMillan (In Press).


Transplant Games are sports competitions open to transplant athletes (TxA) aiming to promote sport among organ recipients, donors, and the wider community. There is some emerging evidence that preparing for and participating in Transplant Games might help to improve motivation, and mental and physical health of TxA. Nonetheless, most literature takes a medical or social care perspective on the experience of transplant recipients, with limited research focussed on the lived experiences and transitions of TxA and their direct social networks (e.g., partner, family, friends). Using the Multiple and Multi-dimensional transitions (MMT) framework of Jindal-Snape (2020), this mixed methods research used an embedded case-study approach and analysed in-depth the multiple and multi-dimensional lived transitions of four UK TxA who received a kidney transplant from an unrelated donor and became cyclists/triathletes. Substantial differences were reported in how participants coped with these transitions, and how they were actively or passively supported, encouraged, and sometimes discouraged by their direct social networks. This study shows that TxA and their stakeholders need to be more aware of the potential impact of direct social networks on TxA transitions.

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