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One in 12 Fans Leaves Major Sports Events Drunk: Study
Date:1/19/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- As the final round of the NFL playoffs approaches this weekend, consider this sobering fact from a new study: One in every 12 fans leaving major sporting events is intoxicated.

After measuring the blood alcohol content (BAC) of 382 adults following 13 baseball games and three football games, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that 8 percent of fans surveyed had a BAC of 0.08 or higher, the legal intoxication limit. They also discovered that those who had tailgated before a game were 14 times more likely to leave the game drunk.

The study -- apparently the first in the United States to attempt to measure BAC levels after professional sporting events -- also determined that fans under the age of 35 were nine times more likely to be drunk.

About one in four attendees who tailgated said they consumed five or more alcoholic beverages while tailgating, and those in the highest BAC range had consumed an average of 6.6 drinks, according to the study.

"There weren't really a lot of studies that specifically looked at an objective measure of how much people were drinking at these events," said study author Darin Erickson, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. "As with most good research, it probably brought up more questions than answers."

Erickson and his team approached fans exiting sporting events between May and October 2006, asking them to consent to an anonymous breathalyzer test and a five-minute verbal survey assessing their alcohol consumption levels before and during the game.

An average of 20 fans volunteered after each game, with 58 percent of participants being men. About 55 percent were between the age of 21 and 35, while 14 percent were 51 or older.

The study is reported online Jan. 18 and will be published in the Apri
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