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Athletes drinking The Main Cause The topic of use and abuse of alcohol by college athletes has received a fair amount of exposure recently The questions revolve around why athletes drink as much as they do whether or not alcohol abuse harms their careers and what we can do to eliminate or minimize the amount of drinking that goes on Because of an absence of formal research on the drinking habits of athletes my comments are opinionated in nature but dont serve to make us consider the context of drinking in sport The rationalization that drinking beer replaces the lost body fluids from exertion during a game is not a particularly valid argument Beer has an alcohol content that simply serves to further dehydrate the body tissues Athletes drink beer following a game not so much because theyre thirsty water or Gatorade would do as good a job or better in replacing lost body fluids and electrolytes but because it is a social habit which theyve acquired over the years The fact that alcohol acts as a relaxant following the stress tension and exertion of a hard-fought pressure-stricken game is probably true We know the effect of alcohol is to inhibit neural activity in the brain alcohol thus serves to depress ones consciousness and cause a feeling of being relaxed In professional and top amateur sport where winning is all-important the athlete is under constant pressure to succeed and he carries this pressure with him into the dressing rooms cocktail lounges and bars long after the game is over Drinking thus becomes almost a conditioned response to somehow relieve or reduce this feeling of pressure To my knowledge few if any athletes drink before a game so this lends credence to the tension-reduction explanation for drinking following a game Probably the most intuitively valid reason for drinking in sport is the fact that drinking is a social habit which athletes acquire over
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