54% of Canadians aged 15 to 19 participate regularly in sport, the problem that is on a rise in these young athletes is that they can be drawn to drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons and even easier when they travel with their teams to games and tournaments out of their own community.
Players who want to take away the stress, take the edge off to win, possibly just fit in with their teammates. Some players say that they want to try to recreate the high that they get when they compete or win. Drugs and alcohol can have devastating effect on any player along with a team, both on and off the field.
The statistics on alcohol and drug abuse among 15 to 19 year old players are alarming. Drugs and alcohol on the road trips are found to have the highest rates of binge drinking and drug usage among players.
We have heard evidence that these problems are filtering down to children as young as 13, we should be deeply concerned. No trophy or medal or championship is worth destroying the health of even one child.
But if we are to improve the programs we offer to these, we need to acknowledge and confront the problems as coaching staff, executive and parents. Not only do we need to understand that youth sports are not just “games for kids,” but we also need to understand the important roles they play in our society and the powerful psychological pressures they exert on children, families, and communities.
We need to realize that sports programs are for adults as much as children, so should these coaches be partying on the road similar to their players. Until we recognize this fact, we will not be able to run these programs that meet the needs of these involved adults and best meet the player’s needs.
Despite these problems, I still believe that youth sports programs can do a great deal of good for children, their families and their communities.
There are many positive aspects of these sports programs, but who’s in charge on these trips and running these programs.
What needs to happen, maybe more positive influences.