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  #1  
Old 01-13-09, 02:31 PM
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106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

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(This hurts us all, I think)

106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs
Almost 8 percent of all major league baseball players used drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the 2008 season, almost twice the percentage of the general population.


The drugs -- usually stimulants -- to treat ADHD are among those banned for general use in the major leagues, according to the Associated Press. The 106 exemptions -- 7.86 percent of all major league players -- are actually three more than granted during the 2007 season, the wire service reports.


The National Institute of Mental health estimates that 3-to-5 percent of U.S. children have ADHD.


A major league spokesman told the A.P. that making that sort of comparison might not be a fair one. "We are far younger than the general population," Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, is quoted as saying, "and we have far better access to medical care than the general population."


But Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of the committee that creates a list of banned drugs for sports organizations, told the wire service he was concerned about the percentage exemptions for ADHD drugs in major league baseball.


"I've been in private practice for a lot of years," W#adler told the A.P.. "I can count on one hand the number of individuals that have ADD. To say that (7.86 percent) of major league baseball players have attention deficit disorder is crying out for an explanation."
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  #2  
Old 12-10-09, 12:06 AM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

I wrote a blog post about this, as follow up to a story last year. Guess ADDForum rules prevent me from linking to the blog. But here is the text (sans links)...FYI:

12/3/09

Pressured by Congress to crack down on performance-enhancing drugs and “false claims of A.D.D.,” Major League Baseball is pleased to report that the number of exemptions for ADHD medications are tapering off. Is this really news worth celebrating? I’m not so sure.

In 2007, the number of players receiving exemptions for ADHD rose to 108, from 28 in 2006. That figure strikes me as reasonable, not alarming, given increasing public awareness during that time period.

After all, the players receiving exemptions represent about 9 percent of total players, which number 1,200 or so. Extremely conservative estimates place the percentage of adults with ADHD in the general population at about 4 percent, but experts acknowledge that using more realistic criteria bumps the figure as high as 16 percent.

Yet, as reported in a previous post (“Anti-Doper Doc Dopey about ADHD?”), this spike created quite the rhubarb among sports officials, including non-savvy ADHD physicians. (“This is incredible. This is quite spectacular. There seems to be an epidemic of ADD in major league baseball,” said Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of the committee that determines the banned-substances list for the World Anti-Doping Agency.)

This recent article in The New York Times article (”Number of M.L.B. Players Given Drug Exemptions Up Slightly“) explains the latest report on all medication exemptions.
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Old 12-10-09, 12:08 AM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

[quote=chowmix;686004]Google search

(This hurts us all, I think)

What do you mean, Chowmix..."this hurts us all"?

Do you think that these players are using ADHD as an excuse to get stimulants?
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Old 12-10-09, 12:13 AM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

It kind of makes sense to me that amongst professional athletes adhd might be even a bit higher than the general population. The couple of hours a week you need to be 'on' sounds like a nice niche.
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Old 12-10-09, 03:25 AM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

I would not dare to speak for another member but I think I see what chowmix means. The main stream media hasn’t exactly been very ADD friendly. The negative spin in the tone of most of the articles seems to insinuate that ADD isn’t a "real" diagnosis and like college kids these guys are looking to the diagnosis so they can legally take the medications and not get in trouble for having stimulants in their drug screens - So far the ones I have looked at do not out right say that these athletes are faking ADD just so they can get exempt but the tone sort of insinuates it.
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Old 12-10-09, 04:39 AM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

I'm just gonna bite my tongue on this one.
I would be *very* interested in knowing how many docs are watching over them,and what their credentials are.
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Old 12-10-09, 05:15 PM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

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Originally Posted by ginniebean View Post
It kind of makes sense to me that amongst professional athletes adhd might be even a bit higher than the general population. The couple of hours a week you need to be 'on' sounds like a nice niche.
I agree, Ginnie. If anything, I think ADHD might be over-represented in professional athletics, especially baseball.

I know baseball players who might have chosen that career anyway but in some cases felt it was there only choice because they did so poorly in school due to undiagnosed ADHD. In fact, I know a high school student who was going that route because he'd concluded he was "stupid" in school and baseball was his only chance in life. Then he was diagnosed at 16 and started expanding his possibilities.

I do think it's important to "talk back" to stories on this topic. This reportage wasn't as bad as some others, though.
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Old 12-10-09, 05:19 PM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

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Originally Posted by meadd823 View Post
I would not dare to speak for another member but I think I see what chowmix means. The main stream media hasn’t exactly been very ADD friendly. The negative spin in the tone of most of the articles seems to insinuate that ADD isn’t a "real" diagnosis and like college kids these guys are looking to the diagnosis so they can legally take the medications and not get in trouble for having stimulants in their drug screens - So far the ones I have looked at do not out right say that these athletes are faking ADD just so they can get exempt but the tone sort of insinuates it.
I agree with you. Here is a prime example not of "the media" making such an assertion but a physician (an ill-informed one, of course, but one in an apparently influential position), from a previous blog post (can't retain hyperlinks, unfortunately):

A physician with the World Anti-Doping Agency contends that ADD (as he calls it) is being overdiagnosed in major-league baseball. More importantly, it is over treated with medication. On what does he base this? The fact that he has rarely diagnosed the condition throughout his career.

Fail to see the logic? Me, too.

Just when I think this blog can move on to topics other than ADHD medical treatment, another flagrant show of ADHD ignorance makes the headlines. Being a big believer in speaking truth to misperception, I just can’t let it pass.

Besides, it’s pretty good timing. You know those physicians-in-denial-about-ADHD that Dr. Charles Parker wrote about last time? This physician serves as a good example.

He’s sounding the alarm that nearly 8 percent of major-league ball players were allowed to use the otherwise-banned stimulant medications for ADHD last season. (That means 106 exemptions for banned drugs.) But, hey, that sounds like a reasonable percentage to me. As I reported previously:

One comprehensive survey concluded that about 4.4 percent of the U.S. adult population age 18-44 has ADHD. But that’s a very conservative estimate. Many researchers suspect the true adult population with ADHD lies closer to 10 percent—and possibly as high as 16.4 percent. It all depends on how broadly the diagnostic criteria are applied.

In fact, some people speculate that ADHD, particularly the hyperactive subtype, is over-represented in sports such as baseball. So, this 8 percent figure might actually represent under-diagnosis.

At any rate, this internist was quoted in today’s AP story by Ronald Blum, “Stimulant exemptions in baseball on the rise”:

“This is incredible. This is quite spectacular. There seems to be an epidemic of ADD in major league baseball,” said Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of the committee that determines the banned-substances list for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He recommended an independent panel be established — WADA recommends at least three doctors — to review TUE requests in what he termed “a sport that grew up on greenies.” (note: That’s slang for amphetamines.)

“I’ve been in private practice for a lot of years. I can count on one hand the number of individuals that have ADD,” he said. “To say that (7.86 percent) of major league baseball players have attention deficit disorder is crying out of an explanation. It is to me as an internist so off the map of my own experience.”

And that’s the sad truth. Too many physicians fail to keep up with the literature after they graduate from medical school. I just wonder how many times Dr. Wadler missed ADHD in his patients — because he didn’t know what to look for. And, rather than learning more now, he apparently is digging in his heels. Let’s just hope this “independent panel” he seeks includes physicians who keep abreast of things.

Sure, “doping” in athletics is a complicated issue. But Dr. Wadler fails to appreciate the complexity he is attempting to manage. Careers could be lost, all for the lack of decisionmakers’ medical knowledge.

Years ago, Phillies’ southpaw Scott Eyre did a great service for both his sport and ADHD awareness by speaking publicly about how his own ADHD came to be diagnosed and how treatment has made a difference in his performance. Here’s an except from an article in Attention magazine (”A Role Model on the Mound”):

Formerly a guy who talked nonstop and made coaches and teammates irritated and nervous, a guy who was described by a former teammate Dan Plesac, now a Philadelphia Phillie, as being “a 33 record playing on 45 speed,” he’s now calm, collected. His manager, Felipe Alou, puts him into a game to right things when they are at their most chaotic and tense — and when the outcome is on the line.”

I’m no diagnostician, but that sure doesn’t sound like the behavior of a “speed freak” to me.

It’s hard to pin down the origins of the word “doping,” but it seems professional sports needs to come to grips with what we’ve learned about the role that dopamine, a brain chemical, plays in ADHD. Until they do that, representatives such as Dr. Wadler just sound, well, dopey.
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Old 12-10-09, 08:01 PM
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Re: 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

Doesn't hurt me at all, as it doesn't do any good for anyone to have drugs illegal. Only increases their pre-illegal statistical use, endangers those addicted to them, and funds organised crime (non-state mafia of course).
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