By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
The assistant directors of the New Mexico Activities Association told Portales High School student-athletes that if they aren’t doing all it takes to be the best version of themselves, there is still time.
NMAA’s Rudy Aragon thinks the words he and others from the NMAA shared with students Monday is a better approach to talking to students about drugs and making the right choices.
The hour-and-a-half presentation covered how alcohol and marijuana affect the human body and what it means for students to be the best athletes possible.
Aragon said Monday’s talk with students is part of a series of presentations NMAA hosts throughout the state about drug awareness, which he feels is more effective than traditional “wag of the finger” lectures because the NMAA provides statistics to prove a point.
NMAA’s Scott Owen told students there’s about a 30 percent drop in reaction time after a night of drinking. The research was conducted on a group of elite Olympic-level athletes, Owen said.
“It lowers your body’s ability to send signals,” Owen said about alcohol.
Another statistic Owen told students to think about is that students who drink occasionally are twice more likely to get injured than non-students.
He applied the lesson to those who give it their all in the game. Owen said if students don’t take the time to recover after the game and add alcohol to the equation, they are harming their bodies.
“Instead of getting better, your body is trying to repair itself,” Owen said.
Owen told students marijuana affects rest, readiness, creates fatigue and slows reaction.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to smoke if you’re an athlete,” Owen said. “You got to be in shape, you got to be able to run. Your body needs oxygen to perform.”
Owen added today’s marijuana is more potent than it’s ever been, which he says makes the drug addictive and will stay in a person’s system longer.
Owen said there’s no point in doing activities that hinder your performance.
“If you made the commitment to join the team, why not give everything you got?” he asked students.
Aragon chimed in with the tough love.
“You’re going to do what you want to do anyway but I’m just telling you, you could do better,” Aragon said passionately.
He told the students if they wanted to be winners, they not only have to be physically tough, they also have to be mentally tough.
“Winners are mentally tough, they fear no one,” Aragon said. “It’s not about the victory, it’s about taking on the challenge.”
PHS baseball player sophomore Jacob Salgado said he felt the presentation spoke to students who aren’t making the right choices.
“I think a lot of athletes that use drugs, this will open their eyes,” said Salgado, an outfielder. “I think the people that use need to stop so we can perform better as a group.”
PHS senior cheerleader Kayleigh Montano said she’ll walk away knowing that the best performance comes from working as a team.
“You have to consider everyone,” Montano said.