Alcohol and Athletes
Alcohol use has particularly negative consequences on teenagers. The teen brain is not fully formed yet; complete brain maturation is not achieved until roughly age 24. Teenagers who use alcohol are at higher risk for lifelong addiction and problem behaviors than their peers who delay drinking until 21 or older.
Alcohol has negative effects on teenage athletes as well. Alcohol affects sleep, resulting in the body having less energy and the brain having difficulty retaining information, such as plays or new skills. Intense exercise increases the heart rate. Consumption of alcohol even two days before practice or competition adds increased stress to the heart, and can result in unusual heart rhythms. Alcohol can cause muscle damage, loss and weakness, which negatively impacts athletic performance. Alcohol is also linked to loss of balance, reaction time, memory and fine motor skill accuracy. Athletes will run slower, have decreased strength and power, and be less able to complete small movements effectively if they are still eliminating alcohol from their body during practice or competition.
Please see the graphics below for additional information on alcohol’s effects on the athlete’s body. Stay sober throughout your season to reach your peak performance!!