The new MLB report on doping -- Performance enhancing drugs -- use in baseball reveals the number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions rose last year. That increase concerns some experts, but not this blog. If you know athletes you know that many exhibit symptoms of ADHD. In fact an entire (yes entire) theory suggests that modern ADHD might be the "hunter-gatherers" who develop more physical skills but who flounder somewhat at pencil and paper task in a society where
sitting on the arse at the desk takes up copious time. To the LA Times:
The number of players approved to take attention deficit disorder medications under baseball's drug policy rose last season, even after the sport tightened its rules in response to criticism from Congress.
According to a report issued today, 106 therapeutic use exemptions for ADD drugs were issued last year, up from the 103 exemptions reported to Congress in 2007.
That 8% of players would require ADD medications dismayed Dr. Gary Wadler, a New York physician and adviser to the World Anti-Doping Agency. Wadler said the disorder is diagnosed in 3-5% of children and a smaller percentage of adults.
"There's nothing unique that would cause an epidemic of ADD in baseball," he said.
If we make up these rules on TUEs, then we can;t go around and criticize the players when they play by the rules. As a physician who prescribes hundreds of drugs of ADHD, it doesn't surprise me int he least MLB player show ADHD. Those players have every right to submit to medical treatments. We agree with Manfred:
Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, said he was unaware of any study that indicated the prevalence of ADD among athletes and said baseball might fund one.
He said it made little sense to compare the diagnoses of ADD among the general population to those among young male professional athletes with access to high-quality medical care.
"That's just stupid," Manfred said.
The report continues on:
Of 3,486 tests administered last year, 19 resulted in a positive test, including five for performance-enhancing substances and 14 for stimulants, according to the report. The tests covered 1,348 players.
The issue of ADD drugs arose during a Congressional hearing last year, when it was revealed that the number of exemptions granted for those drugs had risen from 28 in 2006 to 103 in 2007, sparking concern that some players might be trying to circumvent a new amphetamine ban by using ADD medications.
In response, baseball tightened the rules covering exemptions, restricted team doctors from writing prescriptions for ADD drugs and refused to allow players to pursue an exemption after a positive test, even with a prior prescription.
Manfred said he was "encouraged" that the number of new exemptions -- as opposed to renewals -- dropped from 72 in 2007 to 56 last year.
"I think the changes we made have had some effect," he said. "We will look hard at the process again this offseason."
Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), who challenged baseball officials on the issue during last year's hearing, was not available for comment Friday, his office said.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), whose committee called for that hearing, applauded the public release of test results.
"I remain concerned about the large number of therapeutic-use exemptions given to players and hope that MLB will look carefully at the process for providing these exemptions," Waxman said in a statement.
"But overall, I am pleased with the steps taken by MLB and the players' union to strengthen their drug testing program and eliminate the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs."
We generally agree with those stances. Make the rules, and play by the results. Or what was it we said, we didn't pay attention...