Page 117 - Athletic Health Handbook
P. 117
Risk Factors Lyons, athletes who drank alcohol demonstrated in the 1997 Harvard
had a significantly higher injury School of Public Health College
Alcohol use often starts in junior high rate, more than double that of Alcohol Study, athletes who receive
or high school, when athletes demon- athletes who were nondrinkers. The education from their colleges about
strate significantly higher risk-taking athletes who drank alcohol at least the acute and chronic risks of alcohol
behaviors than their nonathlete peers. once per week had an injury rate use are not less likely to binge drink
High school binge drinking, among of 54.8 percent, while the nondrink- than those who do not receive this
other factors, is a strong predictor of ing athletes had an injury rate of information. Accordingly, many
binge drinking in college. Studies have 23.5 percent. This increased injury authors have concluded that educa-
indicated that athletes possess certain rate affected all sports. tional efforts aimed at highlighting
characteristics that may put them the medical risks of drinking are not
at higher risk for binge drinking. Symptoms of Abuse an effective strategy for reducing the
They tend to report having more rate of binge drinking. There has been
close friends and spend more time In order to recognize binge drinking a recent call for more attention to the
per day socializing, thus creating a by athletes, coaches and sports development of college educational
social environment that increases medicine staff must be on the alert programs that focus on the behavioral
the risk of binge drinking. for certain behaviors and medical and psychological consequences of
complaints both on and off the field. alcohol use, which are more likely to
Binge Drinking Complaints of abdominal pain, be suffered by athletes intermittently
headache, or fatigue may be related abusing alcohol. Through their regu-
Binge drinking has operationally to recent binging. More commonly, lar contact with student-athletes,
been defined as consuming five or binge drinkers exhibit attitude or sports medicine physicians have a
more alcoholic drinks in one sitting. behavioral changes, academic troubles, unique opportunity to educate these
Some consequences of this intermit- hostility, violence, and legal problems young adults about the behavioral
tent alcohol misuse include impaired as signs of their alcohol misuse. and psychological consequences of
academic work, memory loss, suicidal binge drinking on college campuses.
ideation, driving while under the Prevention
influence of alcohol, riding with Their access to athletes and
intoxicated drivers, having more To date, most efforts to prevent binge knowledge of the prevalence and
sexual partners, and contracting drinking by athletes have focused on consequences of their binge drinking
more sexually transmitted diseases. the development of college alcohol provide sports medicine physicians
Additionally, a consequence suffered education programs, many sponsored with an important role in future
by athletes is a higher sport-related by the National Collegiate Athletic prevention and intervention efforts.
injury rate. In a recent study by Association (NCAA.) However, as

Suggested Reading

Nelson TF, Wechsler H. Alcohol and college athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2001;33:43-47.
Schwenk TL. Alcohol Use in Adolescents: The Scope of the Problem and Strategies for Intervention. Phys Sportsmed. 2000;28:71-76.
O’Brien CP, Lyons F. Alcohol & the Athlete. Sportsmedicine. 2000;29-5:295-300.


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