"Participation in competitive youth sports 'spills over' to occupationally advantageous traits that persist across a person's life," Kevin M. Kniffin, postdoctoral research associate at Cornell's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and lead researcher said.
Research by Kniffin and his co-authors shows that people who played a varsity high school sport are expected to be more self-confident, have more self-respect, and demonstrate more leadership than people who were part of other extracurricular activities.
Former varsity athletes also reported significantly higher prosocial volunteerism and charitable activities.
Also, many ex-jock octogenerians parlayed 65-year-old leadership skills into successful management careers - some at the highest level.
"In our study of late-career workers, those who earned a varsity letter more than 50 years ago do demonstrate these characteristics more than others - plus, they donate time and money more frequently than others and possessed great prosocial behavior in their 70s, 80s, and 90s," Kniffin said.
The study is published online in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies.