Athletes have traditionally been considered greater risk takers than their peers. Some research suggests that athletic participation is associated with increased risk behaviors in males but may be protective in females. Still there is significant intersport variability, and some "nonathlete" risk behaviors exceed those of athletes. Motor vehicle accidents, sensation-seeking behaviors that contribute to unintentional injury and violence, alcohol, illicit drug and tobacco use, sexual misadventure, unhealthy dietary habits, and physical inactivity and obesity are major health risk considerations. There is new focus upon the negative health-related consequences of other risk behaviors such as gambling, sleep apnea and obesity, inappropriate medication, energy drink or contaminated supplement use, and depression/suicide. While it is important to look at the prevalence of "risk behaviors in sport," our cautions regarding these behaviors need to be shared with all youth regardless of athletic disposition.
Department of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, HealthPartners Specialty Center, St. Paul, MN
Address for correspondence: Ralph S. Bovard, M.D., M.P.H., FACSM, Department of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, HealthPartners Specialty Center, 435 Phalen Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55130 (E-mail: Ralph.S.Bovard@HealthPartners.com).