By Maeve O’Brien, ‘16

Over the past few years, there seems to have been a shift in the drinking culture among athletic teams. In the past and in the media, high school athletes seemed to withhold from drinking during season, fearing the consequences if they were to get caught. Now, being in season doesn’t seem to be as much of a deterrent for teens.

Being caught by the police at a party was thought to be detrimental to an athletic season. However, over years of poor enforcement of the athletic code, students still go to parties and continue drinking during season.

This rise in drinking during season could be due to a culture that is more tolerant of it. Girls volleyball coach Chris Van Arsdale tries to prioritize the building of a united team culture that promotes positive behavior.

“Athletic programs emphasize the importance of health and well being,” Van Arsdale said. “Therefore, programs with positive cultures work together to reduce the problems that occur with unhealthy and illegal activities.”

While team sports are traditionally thought to build character and keep teenagers out of trouble, a 2009 study by the American Public Health Association showed that males who participated in team sports were found more likely to engage in underage drinking or binge drinking. Researcher point to the coaches and parents to build a culture that focuses on personal values.

“Coaches, characteristics of the sport itself, local cultures, and other factors can make significant differences in how sports participation impacts kids,” ABC News reported.

Some concerns with drinking during season is that not only is it illegal, but it also negatively interferes with the training of a team, and impairs the sense of trust between players and the coaches.

“We train for success, and alcohol and drugs undermine that training, so we want our leaders understanding that connection.” Van Arsdale said. “Programs cannot eliminate poor choices among athletes, but healthy programs can reduce the problems.”