[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 18-Jan-2011
[ | E-mail Share Share ]

Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@burnesscommunications.com
301-652-1558
Burness Communications

Prabhu Ponkshe
703-918-4860
Substance Abuse Policy Research Program


8 percent of fans legally drunk after attending professional sports games

Study is first to measure blood alcohol levels after games

Washington, DC, January 18, 2011— It's no secret that there is a lot of alcohol consumed by fans at sporting events, but is it possible to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) of fans as they exit the stadiums? And if BAC levels can be measured, what do the results tell us?

A new study published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) finds that BAC levels can be measured using a breath tester on fans as they exit football and baseball events. And the results show that 60% of the fans had zero BAC, 40% had a positive BAC, and nearly 8% were legally drunk.

Darin Erickson, PhD, University of Minnesota, was an investigator on the study and was the lead author of the paper.

"Getting fans to submit to a breath test and participate in a brief survey following a football or baseball game is not an easy task. We conducted BAC tests of 362 adult attendees following 13 baseball games and three football games. This is a preliminary study, but the first one to actually attempt to measure BAC levels after professional sporting events in the US," Erickson said. A Canadian study conducted in 1992 found similar results.

"Our sample size was small, partly because of the difficulty of getting fans to submit to a BAC test after a game. But if we assume that it represents individuals attending professional events, it means that on average about 5,000 attendees leaving one National Football League (NFL) event would be above the legal BAC limit for driving. That's a lot of drunken individuals who could be involved in traffic crashes, assaults, vandalism, crime and other injuries," Erickson said.

Part of the problem can be addressed through better training of alcohol servers and several stadiums are trying to train their servers. But according to another study cited by Erickson, even as recently as 2008, individuals who appeared to be obviously intoxicated could purchase alcohol 74% of the time. Increased police patrols around sports stadiums would also help, he said.

Other results from Erickson's study found that:

###

Erickson's study was funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (www.saprp.org) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. SAPRP has funded research into policies related to alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. The study is available online and will appear in the April 2011 issue of ACER.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need—the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.