ADHD and the Motocross Athlete
by Coach Seiji
|And you thought steroid use by athletes was controversial. What about the idea of non-ADHD kids taking ADHD stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to enhance their academic performance? Apparently it's happening more and more, especially among college-age males--the drugs sharply help with focus and make you need less sleep. - The New Yorker
I recently attended the annual American College of Sports Medicine Annual meeting in Baltimore, MD. Every year, I attend this meeting (where I am certain to be the only motocross trainer present) and take as much of the cutting edge knowledge home with me that I can.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder only affects 5% of the worldwide population but this rate can climb up to 70% in professional athletes in certain sports. Casual observation amongst my clients shows near or above this rate and I have struggled with ADHD myself.
Here are my brief take home messages on the conference I attended concerning ADHD and professional athletes:
- ADHD statistics show increased lifetime possibility of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, divorce, difficulty in employment and education attainment and motor vehicle accidents.
- Can be acquired from traumatic brain injury but it's mostly genetic.
- ADHD may increase chances of concussion.
- ADHD can help in sports due to characteristic impulsiveness and hyper focus on tasks that are interesting.
- Some ADHD drugs are stimulants; can cause benefits in sports performance.
- Use of stimulant based ADHD drugs during competition is prohibited by international governing bodies. Use of non stimulant ADHD drugs in competition and training is allowed by most governing bodies.
- ADHD drug use can be tailored to the sport and practice/racing. Drugs should be used when focus is required for directed and learned skills. This would be the case in most training and motocross practice days. Drugs are better off not being used when impulsiveness improves performance. This would be the case for racing. You want to ride by feel and have riding become a set of reactions NOT directed movements. Better to be off the medication for this. Every rider must experiment to find out what works best for him or her but this format is usually the case for most athletes across most sports.
- Stopping stimulant based ADHD drug use for competitions may cause a drop in performance if the athlete is sensitive to stimulant use. Stopping use temporarily may help aerobic performance but may undermine heat regulation so experimentation and care must be used in hot environments.
About the Author: Seiji Ishii is the head coach of www.coachseiji.com. Coachseiji.com provides online coaching and personal training services to motorsports athletes. Coach Seiji has worked with both pros and elite amateurs including: Heath Voss, Ryan Clark, Austin Stroupe, PJ Larsen, Hunter Hewitt, Drew Yenerich, Rusty Potter, Jason Anderson, and Andrew Short. Learn more at coachseiji.com or contact Coach Seiji directly.
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.