A recent study by researchers from the University of Michigan has determined that teen boys who participate in high school sports are also more likely to engage in binge drinking than peers who do not participate in these sporting activities. Researchers also determined that the binge drinking often reached unsafe and dangerous levels when it does occur. Teen boys who participate in a minimum of 3 sports during the school year reported binge drinking with a minimum of 5 drinks during a single setting at a rate of 22.6%, and binge drinking with a minimum of 10 drinks in a single setting at a rate of 8.7%. These numbers are alarming. High school athletes who only participated in one sport saw lower rates for this type of dangerous activity, but with rates of 20.4% having at least 5 drinks per setting and 8.5% having at least 10 drinks per setting the decrease is still cause for concern. Especially since these athletes are in an age group where any alcohol consumption is illegal.
Past studies have shown that high school sports can have a positive influence on teen boys and girls, with better health and higher academic achievement being seen in the athletes. The newest study also looks at peer pressure, stress, and other negative impacts that could be impacting the rate that teens are binge drinking today as well. The study and results can be found in the American Journal on Addictions. The study involved more than 11,000 responses from both male and female high school students who provided data for the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Sociologist and lead study author Dr. Philip Veliz reported “Future research needs to explore who these athletes are and what types of sport may exacerbate extreme forms of binge drinking.”