Sports and alcohol: a risky cocktail

A U study shows that 8 percent of Americans leave pro sporting events legally drunk.

by Frank

Baseball, brats and booze. For some, itâÄôs tough to have one without the others, but new University of Minnesota research points to the comboâÄôs potential dangers.

Eight percent of Americans leave professional sporting events legally drunk, according to a study conducted by the UniversityâÄôs School of Public Health to be published next week.

The study showed that close to half of professional baseball and football game attendees consumed alcohol during the sporting events. Researchers funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave breathalyzer exams to 362 adults from 13 baseball and three football games.

Tailgaters were 14 times more likely to be legally drunk, and those with the highest blood alcohol content readings on average consumed about seven alcoholic drinks.

The studyâÄôs sample size was limited because of the unwillingness of fans to submit a BAC reading, principal investigator Darin Erickson said in a statement.

Erickson, a professor of epidemiology at the University, said if the results accurately represent fans at professional sporting events then on average, close to 5,000 attendees would be above the legal BAC limit of .08 at any given NFL game.

“ThatâÄôs a lot of drunken individuals who could be involved in traffic accidents, assaults, vandalism, crime and other injuries,” Erickson said.