MLB Players: 8% Used ADHD Treatment Drugs in 2008

Jan 12 2009 - 2:06pm

Almost 8 percent of all major league baseball players used drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment 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.


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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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