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Thursday, February 3, 2011

One in 12 Fans Leaves Major Sports Events Drunk

Sporting events across the globe are a time for jubilation, where fans from both sides can come together and enjoy our greatest athletes clash together. Tailgaters and painted faces flood arenas with hope that their team might be the next champions. At the end of the game half the fans are happy because their team won and the other half are disappointed because of a loss. There is one common theme though; one in every 12 fans leaving major sporting events is intoxicated. Researchers from the University of Minnesota measured the blood alcohol content (BAC) of 382 adults following 13 baseball games and three football games, they found that 8 percent of fans surveyed had a BAC of 0.08 or higher; those who had tailgated before a game were 14 times more likely to leave the game drunk. Drunkenness after a game is more prevalent with fans under the age of 35, who were nine times more likely to be drunk.

"There weren't really a lot of studies that specifically looked at an objective measure of how much people were drinking at these events," said study author Darin Erickson, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. "As with most good research, it probably brought up more questions than answers."

The study found that about one in four attendees who had tailgated said they drank five or more alcoholic beverages while tailgating, and those in the highest BAC range had consumed an average of 6.6 drinks. What is scary about the study's findings is that a number of the intoxicated fans are in a hurry to beat the traffic out of the stadium. Thousands of people may be at risk of crashing their vehicle, putting their lives and the lives of others at serious risk. "The implication is that a lot of these people are probably going to be driving," said Michael Hilton, the deputy director of the division of epidemiology and prevention research for the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "It should be an area of concern. This is really very much a pilot study, but it definitely says things that are worth following up in future studies."

This study might be good food for thought as we approach Super Bowl Sunday and the Super Bowl parties!

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