You would be hard pressed to find high school athletes today, or from yesteryear for that matter, that have not partaken in a little “binge” drinking now and then. Actually, it is probably a misnomer to use the words “a little” and “now and then” in that last sentence, as on just about any weekend in almost every community in the U.S., you could find an underage drinking party going on at someone’s house. And in today’s times, sometimes even with parental approval.
Heck, when I was in high school, we didn’t even need to know where the party was. All we had to do was drive around town, on a Friday or Saturday night, and stop at the house with all the cars. More times than not, that was where the party and alcohol was at, and yes, where many of the athletes were, with almost all partaking in the drinking festivities. On many occasions, there was more than one house we could “party hop” to, as a good number would bounce around from party to party.
With regard to the athletes, they were as bad, many times worse, than the non-athletes when it came to partying and alcohol, even though all were required to sign athletic codes that supposedly committed them to refraining from such activities. Sadly, not much has changed with regard to this.
It appears, however, that there is a movement to try and curb the decades-old trend mentioned above with the hopes of making a difference in the underage alcohol consumption and drug use of student athletes. John Underwood, founder and president of American Athletic Institute, is working toward changing this practice through his Life of an Athlete program. It is through this program that he demonstrates for student-athletes, using sound research-based information and facts, the negative effects alcohol consumption and other drug use can have on student athletes and their athletic performance.
His recent speaking engagements, to high schools in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin area, were highlighted on WEAU 13 news, Research shows Life of an Athlete shouldn't contain alcohol, and abc WQOW 18 news, Leading researcher to speak to students about alcohol and drug abuse. Included in these news stories are a couple of videos that are certainly worth a view. They help clarify a few of the “facts” about underage drinking/drug use and athletes. You might be surprised at some of the statistics.
As a full supporter of the premise behind what John Underwood is trying to accomplish with his Life of an Athlete program, as well as one who knows exactly what following an alcohol/drug free athletic path can bring to an individual, I commend him on his efforts. It is an uphill battle, this changing the mentality of a culture, but most assuredly a battle worth fighting.