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Teens playing sports at risk for using drugs, alcohol

Teens who play sports like football, wrestling, hockey or lacrosse are more likely to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or marijuana than student athletes who play noncontact sports, according to a new University of Michigan study.

 

ANN ARBOR— The findings show that participation in high-contact sports is associated with substance use during the past 30 days. Meanwhile, participating in noncontact sports, such as tennis, swimming, gymnastics and track, lessened the likelihood of substance use in the past month.

 

"Competitive sports participation can either inhibit or amplify substance use. It just depends upon which type of sport adolescents are involved with," said Philip Veliz, assistant research professor at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Contact sport participants view their body as an instrument that can be easily gambled with, even if it means permanent damage, Veliz said. Conversely, sports that involve minimal to no contact are valorized for their sustainability for participants throughout life.

 

The researchers used data from Monitoring the Future, which surveys 8th-, 10th- and 12th-grade students on a range of different topics like substance use, academic performance and competitive sports participation. The national sample included more than 21,000 teens who were asked about substance and illicit drug use during a 30-day period. (SOURCE: University of Michigan)

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