Opinion article published in the Newcastle Herald by Professor John Wiggers, Dr Luke Wolfenden and Melanie Kingsland, of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle.

IN Australia, one in four people are members of, or participate in, community sport.

Community sports clubs make an important contribution to our way of life, providing an opportunity for physical activity, recreation, social interaction, volunteering, and social cohesion for young and old alike.

In some clubs, however, the way alcohol is made available and managed diminishes this positive contribution.

The association between community sport and alcohol is a reflection of that between sport and alcohol in Australia generally.

The Australian cricket team wears sports caps emblazoned with a beer sponsor’s logo, an image of a brewer is across the chest of every NSW State of Origin player, and commentators applaud players celebrating their victory with alcohol.

A little-known consequence of this association is that sports players and fans consume alcohol at higher levels than the general community.

As a consequence, they are at greater risk of being involved in assaults, injured through motor vehicle accidents, and being at risk of alcohol dependence.

READ the full opinion article in the Newcastle Herald.

Professor John Wiggers, Dr Luke Wolfenden and Melanie Kingsland, of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. Further information regarding the Good Sports program can be obtained from the Australian Drug Foundation.

* Opinion pieces represent the authors’ views.