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Binge Drinking does not Affect Rugby Players’ Performance

Update Date: Jun 13, 2014 10:33 AM EDT

Alcohol consumption can lead to impaired judgment and vision at the moment, and physical and mental fatigue the morning after. Due to these symptoms, many people avoid alcohol the night before a big event. In a new study, researchers from Massey University in New Zealand examined the effects of binge drinking on the anaerobic performance of male club rugby players during the following day. The team discovered that contrary to popular belief, binge drinking did not affect the players' ability to perform physically.

For this study, the team recruited 19 male rugby athletes. They measured each athlete's performance level two days prior and two days after a heavy drinking session, which was defined as having up to 20 standard drinks within one night. The researchers discovered that binge drinking affected the player's body output slightly. After binge drinking, the athletes had weaker lower body output, which affected their jumping. However, the team did not find any evidence that a heavy drinking session led to impaired anaerobic performance the morning after.

"It is unclear how such behavior affects adaptation to exercise in the long-term. Although the short term effects of such alcohol consumption may not impact performance the harmful physical and psychological effects of such alcohol abuse are well known," the author, Dr. Matt Barnes, primary supervisor Lecturer in Exercise Prescription and Training and Professor Steve Stannard, the head of Massey's School of Sport and Exercise, stated according to Medical Xpress.

The researchers added even though binge drinking did not affect the players' anaerobic performance, the long-term effects of drinking are still unclear. The study, "Effects of heavy episodic drinking on physical performance in club level rugby union players," was published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

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