Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Calls for More Education, Vigilance About Sports Fans' Alcohol Intake

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Michael P. Schostok of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. says university study finding 1 in 12 fans intoxicated identifies only a fraction of those who drive drunk after sporting events.

Michael P. Schostok

This study points out the need to increase training of those who sell alcohol at sports stadiums and for increased vigilance among law enforcement after sporting events.

A Cook County personal injury lawyer says a recent study of drinking at sporting events only scratches the surface and indicates the need to increase training for alcohol servers at professional sports stadiums in Illinois and across the country.

A University of Minnesota study – the first in the U.S. to attempt to measure individuals’ blood-alcohol content as they left professional sporting events – says that one in 12 fans leaving such events is intoxicated and that young-adult sports fans are much more likely to be drunk after games.

“As sure as 1 and 1 equals 2, many of these sports fans who are drinking at games are driving after games, and they are putting other motorists at risk,” said Michael P. Schostok, equity partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, a leading Illinois personal injury law firm that concentrates on car accidents.

“This study points out the need to increase training of those who sell alcohol at sports stadiums and for increased vigilance among law enforcement after sporting events.”

The study’s authors said researchers had 362 adults submit to Breathalyzer exams after 13 baseball games and three football games. Sixty percent of those tested had a blood-alcohol content level of zero, 40 percent had a BAC under the legal driving limit of .08, and 8 percent blew above the legal limit.

The study, released January 18 by the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center, also found that fans younger than 35 were nine times more likely to be drunk after a game and that those who tailgate before the game are 14 times more likely to be drunk after the game.

“This is a ground-breaking and eye-opening study, but it barely scratches the surface of drinking in connection with sports,” said Schostok, whose firm’s offices in Chicago and Waukegan have recovered millions of dollars in damages for victims of drunk driving accidents.

“It doesn’t include drinking at bars or private parties, where certainly fans are drinking and then after the game are driving recklessly and causing accidents and injuries,” he said.

“(I)f we assume that our results accurately represent individuals attending professional events, it means that – on average – almost 5,000 attendees leaving one National Football League event would be above the legal BAC limit for driving,” the study’s principal investigator, Darin Erickson, Ph.D., said in the school’s news release. “That’s a lot of drunken individuals who could be involved in traffic accidents, assaults, vandalism, crime and other injuries,” Erickson said.

Unfortunately, drunk driving and the DUI accidents and injuries that follow aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon, Schostok said.

“But this study makes clear the need to continue to educate people about drinking and driving,” he said. “And our lawyers, in the meantime, will absolutely continue to stand up for those harmed by drunk drivers.”

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard is a leading Illinois personal injury law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan. In addition to representing clients in catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, aviation and product liability cases, the firm focuses on car and truck accidents, airplane and train accidents, construction injuries, birth injuries, brain injuries, unsafe properties and animal attacks. The firm has obtained more than $585 million on behalf of its clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including 160 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements.

For more information, call (312) 372-1227 or use the firm’s online contact form.

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