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Alcohol and Athletic Performance

Alcohol and Athletic Performance

Athletic Performance

It's a long fly ball to deep left field. You decide to go for the win. Everything's fine until you round third. Your legs cramp and you run out of gas. The catcher tags you out with ease. Your team goes home losers. Maybe you shouldn't have gulped down that twelve-pack of brew last night, huh?

The simple fact is - alcohol and athletics don't mix. The alcohol industry, however, paints quite a different picture with its sponsorship of athletic events, gimmicks like Olympic commemorative beer cans, and countless ads designed to convince you that their beverage goes hand-in-hand with sports.

But on closer examination, you'll notice that the guys with the beers in their hands are sitting on the sidelines or on the bar stool watching the big game on TV. Or they're retired athletes, guys who don't play sports any more.

This is because alcohol abuse impairs skills that are vital to success in sports; motor skills such as eye-brain-hand coordination and cognitive skills like information processing. Almost half the college athletes who drink admit that their use of alcohol has had a "harmful" or "slightly harmful" effect on their athletic performance.

It's tough to play a good game when you have a hangover or you're so out of shape you have to lug a beer belly around the field (they don't call it a beer belly for nothing). Let's face it, you don't see a lot of fat athletes, do you? Well, okay, Sumo wrestlers, maybe...