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RESPONSIBLE ALCOHOL INITIATIVES Matti Clements AFLPA
Misuse of Alcohol is not isolated to the AFL community In Victoria alone: • 8, 000 emergency department presentations • 4, 700 ambulance attendances in metropolitan Melbourne • 64% of 18 -24 year olds and 32% of 14 -17 year olds binge drinking (as defined by NHMRC guidelines) • 13, 000 seeking treatment for alcohol problems • 2, 000 assaults involving young people affected by alcohol • 16, 500 drivers convicted of drink and/or drug offences • 15, 000 people apprehended for public drunkenness • Over 1, 500 assaults in licensed premises • 37% parents with children entering foster care with alcohol abuse problems (source: National Alcohol strategy 2006 -2009, Federal Government Alcohol Website, www. alcohol. gov. au)
WHY DID ALCOHOL BECOME A TOPIC OF INTEREST IN FOOTBALL? “Footy players get on the piss. Always have, always will. Nobody else’s business and they can handle it, they’re big boys”. (anon) By 2006 it had become apparent that the long held relationship between sport and alcohol was ‘spilling over’ into episodic risky drinking and a range of subsequent harms in AFL football.
Alcohol misuse can result in significant WELLBEING consequences for AFL Players
1. Health and welfare of AFL players • Short term risk (fights, driving offences, relationship problems, impact on performance) • Long term risk (mental health problems, addiction, physical disease) • Link with illicit drug use
2. Opportunity to take the lead on a key social issue • Misconduct detracts from positive club and player initiatives • Society looks to AFL for leadership • Medical experts and health promotion organizations willing to support efforts
3. Damage to image and reputation of AFL competition • Negative media coverage • Players as role models is a key driver of attendance at games (source: Forethoughts AFL brand tracking, May 2009) • Impact on a range of fundamental business outcomes
So what do we know about Player drinking? Deitze & Fitzgerald Research, 2006
AFL Players Levels of Consumption • Across the playing year AFL players binge drink on a monthly basis (51%) to a higher extent than men in the general population (44%) • Most players drink at low long-term risk levels during preseason and home and away periods (89% and 90% respectively) • AFL players binge drink less on a weekly basis during preseason and home and away periods than men in the general population • 26% of AFL players drink at levels that place them at high risk of long term harm during the vacation period. In comparison, the most recent National Drug Strategy Household Survey reported that only around 6% of Australian males (aged 20 -29 years) drink at levels that place them at high risk of long term harm
Summary – Why have a policy? • Health and welfare of AFL players – Short term risk (fights, driving offences, relationship problems) – Long term risk (mental health problems, addiction, cancer) – Link with Illicit Drugs – New information about consequences of binge drinking on developing brains • Damage to image and reputation of AFL competition – Impact on fundamental business outcomes – Appeal to strong and growing family and female supporter base – “Having players as suitable role models” remains a key driver of attendance (Source: Forethought AFL Brand Tracking, May 2009) • Opportunity to take lead on key social issue – Alcohol significant problem in community – Misconduct detracts from positive club and player initiatives – Society looks to AFL for leadership • Cost of alcohol-related issues management (AFL, AFLPA and Clubs)
Club Responsible Alcohol Dashboard • The AFLPA has developed and implemented a performance “dashboard” tool for clubs to use in measuring their progress. • Dashboards are used as an alternative to hurdle requirements and compliance checklists. • They provide a dynamic snapshot of an organisation’s performance across a range of indicators.
Development of player education resources In the past 3 years the AFLPA has delivered targeted ‘drinking and decision making’ workshops to all AFL players just prior to the players entering their vacation period which is identified as a high risk period for risky consumption of alcohol. • opportunities for planning and discussion (known as ‘The August Sessions’) that are facilitated by players and club staff, and shepherded by the AFLPA player education specialists • all new inductees to AFL undertake specific alcohol awareness training during both the AFLPA induction camp
Well-being Program Commencing 2011, all new players will partake in a Wellbeing program • Develop strategies to manage stress, develop coping skills, etc • Discussion-based learning, facilitated AFLPA player education specialists