alcohol abuse and what can be done by the trainer to curtail it.
Alcohol Abuse in Athletes
The excessive and addictive use of alcohol is one of the most severe public issues facing both educational institutes and professional athletes. What is worse is its extensive effects and costs. Abuse has now taken the shape of an all-encompassing dilemma and student athletes are no less a part of it. Although it would not be true to say that all athletes indulge into excessive use but a good number do. Attaining a fall in alcohol abuse has been mediocre in recent years (National Center for Health Statistics). Apart from this students trainers have a role to play in this reduction.
Drinking alcohol in many ways has become imbedded within the culture of college life. This is not however the problem. The issue is not even limited to many college students being underage but rather extending to the quantity of alcohol intake. What is worse is that many students have strong drinking habits even before they enter college. This means that students had already been exposed to alcohol while at high school or in certain cases while at junior high. One form of alcohol related problem is what is commonly referred to as alcoholism which is a medical disease. Its beginning can be linked to the gene structure, along with environmental and psychosocial causes.
On the other hand alcohol abuse, is the intentional excessive intake of alcohol. This is what is common amongst high school and college students and often takes the form of binge drinking. When alcohol is consumed one or more times a week with five or more drinks in a row then the individual is considered to be involved in binge drinking. The same definition applies to women but the time period is extended to two weeks.
Characteristically a drink denotes twelve ounces of beer or wine cooler, a four-ounce glass of wine, or a shot of liquor (Rochman). Either of these could be taken straight or in the form of a mixed drink where other ingredients like soda or water are added.
To be in a position to maintain a high level of performance on specially and off the field also athletes whether students or professionals tend to drink less. This is not however a sweeping statement and does not universally apply. Many in continuation of their off-season habits continue a high level of consumption while others make up for the reduced level during the off-season.
Alcohol's acute negative effects on athletic performance have been generally accepted and commonly known (Williams, 331-372 & Koziris). Reasonable blood alcohol levels could possibly lead to increase in reaction time, fall in the level of hand-eye coordination, and deterioration in performance of skills that in some way involve display of balancing and accuracy.
With low blood alcohol levels a decrease in shaking and shivering of hands and improvement in balancing and accuracy have been noticed this is not without some cost. This means that reaction time is still increased and the quality of hand eye coordination falls. One possible effect of alcohol consumption is that it can attenuate aerobic performance. However there is a risk of acute medical implications due to its effect on thermoregulatory mechanisms.
Possible chronic consequences on the quality of athletic performance are a result of the effect of long-term abuse on several organs and physiologic systems. Certain reviews on alcohol consumption have also stated its effects on the endocrine system and on muscles. It is very important to note at this point that both systems are of crucial importance to athletes and thus to sports medicine professionals.
Building of muscle mass initially and maintaining them later is vital for any athlete. In relation to this it is significant that excessive alcohol intake can possible lead to a catabolic hormonal environment. This precipitates muscle atrophy and weakness. Myopathy, often present with neuropathy, can occur in various skeletal muscles and the myocardium.
Athletic trainers by of their proximity with the game and the athlete enjoy a unique positions in terms of the kind and level of interaction they can enjoy. Since he is the teacher and not the competitor its easier for him to closely study each athlete to accurately conclude whether an alcohol abuse problem exists. This also means that light conversation about the issue can always be made part of the informal elements of training.