Kelly Pavlik is a boxer I am unfamiliar with. I rarely watch boxing anymore due to the fact we dropped satellite TV years ago and I prefer mixed martial arts fights now. An article concerning Kell’s alcoholism caught my attention today, not for the clever title, but for the meat of the subject. Substance abuse, the non-performance enhancing kind, very rarely gets attention in the athletic world.
Alcoholism is an insidious disease that can affect everyone. Some are more susceptible that others, but it cuts across all lines. Professional athletes are bombarded by media at every turn reminding them about alcohol.
Remember, a majority of professional athletes aren’t major leaguers. They are athletes working at minor league clubs, developmental leagues, etc. In our current environment, you should also put college athletes into the mix.
Who are some professional athletes with substance abuse issues?
- John Lucas – 1982 drug and alcohol issues.
- Kerry Collins – 1997 alcoholism rehab.
- Chris Mullin – 1987 alcoholism rehab.
- Theo Fleury – 2003 alcohol and drug abuse.
- John Daly – Multiple alcoholism rehabs.
- Joe Namath – 2004 alcoholism rehab.
If you look at that list you see a number of leaders in their sports. Superstars that rose to the top of the ranks.
The effects of alcoholism on a professional athlete can be many:
1) Nutrition deficits
2) Performance drop off
3) Endurance fatigue
4) Loss of teammate confidence
5) Loss of personal confidence
It is a shame that there is such a stigma associated with alcoholism among professional athletes.