Why do coaches need opioid education and awareness?

Coaches have great influence on an athlete’s success on and off the field. Coaches can act as role models to help athletes continue to make safe and informed decisions.

Regardless of whether a high school athlete continues to play a sport in college or not, the need for opioid education is crucial before this time. Initial numbers of misuse and abuse of prescription opioids start in adolescence and some of the highest numbers affect those aged 18-25 years old. 1

Only 480,000

high school athletes out of nearly

8,000,000across the country
will go on to play a college sport.
  • Nearly one-quarter of college student-athletes report to have used a prescription pain medication 2
  • The percentage of student athletes prescribed narcotics for a pain medication is higher than the general student body 3
  • Being a varsity athlete, having an injury, and being male in college athletics is associated with a greater risk of non-medical use of prescription opioids 4
  • The reported rate of overuse injury was 3.28 times higher in college sports than high school sports 5

It is necessary to understand the influential role that coaches have on their players lives. Important life skills and values learned through participation in athletics extend beyond the field. Coaches spend a significant amount of time listening to their players and  looking for ways to improving their actions or decisions to achieve optimal performance. In certain situations coaches have the ability to detect if an athlete is showing signs or symptoms of drug misuse. Coaches may be able to detect this behavior before a problem occurs and provide support to those in need of help. Coaches are needed to educate and further responsible decision making from athletes.