Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Binge Drinking Is Another Reason Why Children Shouldn't Copy The Behavior Of Their Sports Heroes

Here's another case of a professional athlete setting a bad example for their young admirers. While the child abuse case of Adrian Peterson and the spousal abuse by Ray Rice are worse, this binge drinking by San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner is potentially more dangerous. Most of us can't contemplate the violent behavior of the aforementioned football stars, but the Giants player's binge drinking will certainly be admired by many young adults, maybe even impressionable high school students. In this video clip, Mr. Bumgarner is seen chugging FIVE cans of beer simultaneously while his teammates cheer him on in the aftermath of their win in the National League Division Series. Is this celebration of a baseball game excessive? Will Mr. Bumgarner want to be remembered as the man who can drink five cans of beer at a time? How will he feel when his own children and other young family members watch this on YouTube, up there on the internet for all time? Will he be embarrassed? Or will he be like the hypocritical pot smoking parents who tell their kids not to do what they see their elders doing?

Excessive alcohol consumption is a serious issue in our country. Its economic cost is estimated to be over $200 billion per year in medical care and lost productivity. Seventy-five percent of that is directly related to binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined in men as taking five or more drinks within a two hour span. In the video, Mr. Bumgarner is doing it all in thirty seconds.

According to the CDC, ninety percent of alcohol consumed by young adults under the age of 21 are done by binge drinking. Think of the fraternity weekend parties, postgame keggers, and Greek nights on campus. But it's not confined to just college campuses. Ten percent of high school drinkers have binge drinked. These are precisely the fans who will be admiring the beer guzzling performance of Mr. Bumgarner.

For the same reason these young fans buy the shoes and other products endorsed by athletes, they will also try to emulate their actions on and off the field. At that youthful age they don't have the judgement to discern what's wrong and what's right. I don't have to go through the long list of potential complications from excessive alcohol use, including injury or death to oneself or others from drunk driving, hepatitis, pancreatitis, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This sort of behavior should not be an example of a celebratory display after a hard won game. Spraying each other with champagne is one thing. Drinking alcohol so quickly that it is running out the sides of your mouth and down your clothes should not be condoned by any athlete or their professional organization lest they want their own children to do the same thing.

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