Athletes and alcoholism do not mix. If an athlete develops a serious drinking problem you can guaranty he will be drastically shortening his career. In some cases he may end it prematurely.
This most-definitely is true for high school athletes. For one Nebraska grappler his chances for a state title and college scholarship may be lost due to alcohol!
Omaha Burke high school lost a key member of its wrestling team before the state meet begins. Absent was Justice Bridgeford, a returning Class A state champion at 160 pounds.
Bridgeford, 17, was arrested by Omaha police on suspicion of multiple offenses. He currently is facing criminal mischief, theft, minor in possession of alcohol and other charges.
Bridgeford, whose career record is 108-11, with a Class A state title in 2011 at 160 pounds, was 41-3 this season as a 152-pounder. He won a district championship last week.
His absence hurts Burke's chances of winning their first Class A team title since 2000. The Bulldogs came into state as the top challengers to three-time defending Class A champion Grand Island.
Alcohol not only costs the school it is going to cost this young man his chance at a scholarship. I am all in favor of second chances. I would hope that an alcohol class and some community service might help Bridgeford regain his standing and give him a chance to wrestle at the college level.