Living in Louisiana, we’re known for our lively culture and traditions, many of which include alcoholic beverages. TV shows and movies often make underage drinking seem like a pretty cool thing to do. And statistics show that more than just a few rebels are roaming the halls of our schools bragging about their latest experience with liquor. We all know that the legal drinking age in Louisiana is 21, and while some might argue the merits of that age limit, there is no argument as to the detrimental effects drinking can have on teenagers.
Alcohol is a depressant which means that it slows down the central nervous system, changing the way we think, feel, see and react to the things around us. The more alcohol we ingest, the greater concern it has on our bodies—both in the short and long-term. Youngsters may not realize it, but their brains and bodies are still developing throughout the high school years, and drinking alcohol, especially to excess, can often be very damaging to their health.
Alcohol abuse and athletics make for a deadly combination. Imagine trying to dodge a 90-mile-per-hour fastball while impaired? Or swinging from the high bar in gymnastics while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? At the very least, athletic performance is diminished with alcohol abuse. At its worst, alcohol overuse could be deadly.
Besides letting down teammates by a less than stellar game day performances, underage drinking can lead to a series of medical complications including high blood pressure, liver damage and depression. Before teenagers give in to underage drinking, they should really consider the short- and long-term consequences.
As an athlete, taking care of your body is very important. But this is sound advice for all high school students. Don’t jeopardize your future for alcohol. Think before you sip, and be assured that it will almost certainly pay off in the long run. For more information on how alcohol can change your game, visit "The Huddle section of our website at http://www.lhsaa.org/TheHuddle"www.lhsaa.org/TheHuddle.