Ashland County Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

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Recognizing Alcohol Use in Teens and Young Athletes

Recognizing Alcohol Use in Teens and Young Athletes
September 07, 2021

Underage drinking is more common than parents, teachers and coaches would like to admit. A 2019 survey showed that nearly 30% of teens drank alcohol in the last 30 days, and 14% reported binge drinking. It’s likely that someone around you—and perhaps even your teen—is or has been drinking. 

So how can you know if your child is using alcohol, especially if he or she is an athlete? If your teen is feeling the pressure to perform on the court (or in the classroom), they may be more at risk to turn to alcohol to deal with it. These pressures lead to stress, which in turn puts teen athletes at risk for substance use issues.

Some of the warning signs to look for include:

  • Changes in mood or eating habits.
  • Problems at school, like poor grades or not attending class.
  • Rebelling against family rules.
  • Withdrawing from people or school/church activities.
  • Changing friends abruptly.
  • Finding alcohol in your teen’s bag or room.
  • Problems focusing.
  • Bloodshot eyes or slurred speech.

If you suspect that your teen athlete is experiencing stress and has turned to alcohol to deal with the demands of sports, there are a few steps you can take, including:

  1. Spend some time with your child, find out what’s happening, and listen without judgment.
  2. Talk about time management tools and ways to relieve stress.
  3. Help your teen get enough sleep.
  4. Supply your child with healthy meals and snacks.
  5. Support your teen by getting help from a school counselor, a clergy member, or a professional therapist.
  6. Get yourself professional help in order to get through the situation and properly support your teen.

It’s not uncommon for parents to be shocked when they find out their child has been drinking. The important thing to remember is that you can affect change and get your child the help they need, While your teen won’t fully understand the risks involved with underage drinking, there’s much you can do as a parent to guide your child in the right direction. 

If you need help identifying an at-risk situation or would like to talk to a professional, contact the Ashland County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse or learn more.

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Ashland County Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

310 College Avenue
Ashland, Ohio 44805
Phone: (419) 289-7675
Hours: M-F 8:30am - 5:30pm

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