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Exploring the prevalence of drinking games and their impact on the health of club sport athletes at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

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Meier, Kevin
Vogel, Matt; McKelley, Ryan; Gilmore, Gary
MS, Public-Health Community Health Education
Sep 10, 2010
University of Wisconsin -- La Crosse -- Students; College athletes -- Health and hygiene -- Wisconsin -- La Crosse; Drinking games
The purpose of this study was to first identify which types of drinking games are most prevalent among college club sport athletes at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, and second, determine what health consequences are perceived to occur as a result of participation. The study was descriptive in nature and used a self-reported online questionnaire developed by the researcher to collect quantitative data. All 352 club sport athletes at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse were emailed the survey yielding 105 responses, resulting in a 30 percent response rate. The results revealed a 39 percent percent participation rate in drinking games with fellow members of club sport teams, with 17 percent of all participants being under the age of 21. Respondents reported the major reasons for joining a club team were "to have fun," "to meet new people/make friends," and because of a "love of the sport". The most frequently played type of drinking game was team games (89 percent). Team games include beer pong and flip cup, in which two teams play against each other. The top reported health consequences suffered from participating in drinking games were vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and blacking out, with 39 percent reporting no consequences. Gender showed statistically significant influence when compared with participation and consumption amount. Among males, 50 percent reported playing drinking games with their team compared to 28 percent of females. Additionally, 58 percent of males consumed 4 or more drinks when playing drinking games, versus 7 percent of females. Age, when compared with type of drinking game played, showed statistically significant influence as well. The researcher's recommendations encompass the ideas of education, raising awareness, and changing the culture that is currently in place. It is recommended that more educational components based around safe alcohol consumption be implemented into club sports, with emphasis on targeting 18-year-old students. It is also recommended that further research be carried out in order to better understand club athlete's consumption rates both in and outside of the context of drinking games as well as their reasoning behind playing drinking games.
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