Student Athletes and Alcohol Abuse Scrutinized by Coaches

By: Janelle Lilley Email
By: Janelle Lilley Email

Student athletes are undergoing even more scrutiny after it was revealed that the University of Virginia lacrosse player and accused murderer George Huguely had been convicted of public intoxication after a violent confrontation with a Lexington police officer in 2008.

Colleges, coaches and even fans often keep a close eye on the health of student athletes, but some problems, like alcohol abuse, are much harder to spot than a sprained ankle.

Bridgewater College has a dry campus, but that does not keep students from drinking off of school property, which is why Bridgewater College Athletic Director Curt Kendall makes his feelings about alcohol known every year.

" We address that and other things whether it be drugs or alcohol at the beginning of each school year with our individual meetings with our teams," says Kendall.

In addition to reviewing school policy, Kendall also warns students about what alcohol can do to their ability to perform at their best.

"You know, it's something that's not good for athletes. If you want to be at your highest level of performance, you need to stay away from drugs and alcohol," says Kendall.

However, in spite of his warnings, Kendall says he is not naive enough to think his athletes do not drink.

"Even though you have rules or policies, they're made to be broken by young people sometimes," says Kendall.

Kendall says he relies heavily on his coaches to monitor Bridgewater athletes.

"Do we believe that every student athlete is [not drinking]? No. So, the reality is our coaches have the ability to put in additional policies to deal with those things as they come about," says Kendall.

He says, these days, his coaching staff has to be aware not only of the problem but also the symptoms.

"The warning signs are out there. Kids late to class, kids missing class, lethargic at times or whatever it might be that are signs and symptoms. We keep our eye on it or keep a pulse on it if we feel like somebody's got an issue or we hear rumors of it," says Kendall.

According to Kendall, coaches handle athlete alcohol abuse on a case-by-case basis, but game suspensions and mandatory counseling are a few of the options available to coaches.


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