The onset of fall means football games and high schoolers all over Prescott Valley queuing up for tailgate parties before their weekly games. Unfortunately, many tailgate parties involve underage drinking.
One study done at the University of Minnesota (UM) indicated that over 48 percent of those attending sporting events drink alcohol before or during the game or match. This applies across the board, but underage college and high school students are increasingly among the drinkers at these festivities.
An alarming trend
There's nothing wrong with pregame celebrations to spur your favorite team on to gridiron victory. Tailgating is a time-honored tradition worth preserving. However, it's when those celebrations involve binge or underage drinking that the red flags emerge.
What is especially troubling is that young people begin to associate having a good time with drinking alcohol. Once the two are intrinsically linked, it's incredibly easy for these young adults to begin the descent into full-blown alcohol addiction.
More study results
The UM researchers also revealed that:
- Almost 25 percent of those fans who tailgated admitted to drinking at least five alcoholic beverages during their pregame partying.
- Tailgating fans have 14 times the likelihood of getting legally intoxicated in comparison to those who did not tailgate.
- Fans whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was the highest admitted drinking an average of 6.6 alcoholic beverages when tailgating.
Legal and health consequences likely
The UM study discovered in its review of sports fans attending a trio of National Football League (NFL) games than an estimated 5,000 exiting the game are legally intoxicated. While it's likely that some of the fans won't be driving themselves home, it's naive to believe that all will arrange for sober rides.
This is also concerning because underage drinkers have the least driving experience. Some may have only been licensed to drive for a year or less and have driven very few miles. This inexperience, coupled with intoxication, can have lethal results.
Handling the fallout of a DUI
If your high school or college-age son or daughter gets arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the consequences can be quite serious. Some schools suspend students who get arrested, and it's almost inevitable that those who play on sports teams will face censure and sanctions for their actions.
That might include getting tossed off the team, losing academic or athletic scholarships or even expulsion from the university or high school. In other words, life as they know it will change.
Parents can step in and be the lifeline their children so desperately need at these times and arrange for legal representation that may build a credible and winning defense to those allegations.