Banning Game-Time Drinking: An Analysis of Medical Emergencies at the Nation's Largest Collegiate Football Stadium

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Advisors: James Diamond, PhD and Kathryn Kash, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia PA


The goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a game time drinking ban implemented during the 2006 football season at Penn State University’s Beaver Stadium. Data from the football dispatch and patient event logs were used to determine the variables that affect the volume of medical incidents during game day. Home football games from nine seasons (2000 to 2008) were included. A total of 61 regular season home games occurred during this time, with an average attendance of 105,408 fans. Total patients evaluated per game ranged from 10 to 122, with an average of 28 emergency medical services dispatches per game. Patient totals by season increased 2.6 times between 2000 and 2008 from 167 to 435. Alcohol was responsible for the highest percentage of incidents, accounting for 16.3% of calls. Attendance, temperature, dew point and game starting time were all found to have significant positive associations with total patient numbers (p≤0.05). The first home game of a season and overall winning seasons were also significantly associated with higher mean number of patients. Mean number of patients, number of alcohol related dispatches, and transports were significantly higher following the implementation of the game time drinking ban. Based on this initial analysis, the game time drinking ban does not appear to have reduced medical or alcohol related incidents. Results from this study can be used to develop alcohol related incident reduction strategies. Several public health policies and their potential efficacy are reviewed.