So the big news today in the baseball world is that Oklahoma Sooners’ junior star pitcher Jonathan Gray has tested positive for Adderall usage. According to early reports, there is no confirmation that Gray has been prescribed the stimulant by a doctor for a legitimate condition.
The stimulant Adderall is predominately used to treat ADHD and is not classified (by MLB) as a ‘performance-enhancing drug’, but rather an amphetamine.
Right now, it’s ‘no harm no foul’ for Gray as he hasn’t done anything to violate MLB rules. Could this affect his draft position? It could, as Gray is considered by some to be the top pitcher available in the upcoming 2013 Major League Baseball draft. As long as Gray can stay ‘clean’ as he begins his professional baseball career he’s not subject to any punishment–though he’s going to have to understand he’ll be subjected to a testing gauntlet for some time.
But even then, Gray could convince his doctor of a form of ADHD (should he not really have it), get a prescription, apply for a waiver, and ‘beat’ the system. In fact, anyone could do that if they wanted.
I have no problem with athletes taking a drug like Adderall. Put in simplest terms, Adderall helps the user control his/her focus–disposed of ADHD or not.
I create the following analogy to voice my acceptance of this substance. You have a big test the next morning, it counts for a majority of your grade and you’ve been doing great all year. Because you are stressed about it, you might not sleep well and (for some) this spells major concentration and memory recall issues for them. Getting that good nights sleep will most likely translate into success on par with what you’ve demonstrated throughout the class. Having a bad night could result in a test score that plummets your grade, regardless of your proven competency.
Yes, it can provide the ability to make you a subjectively better student BUT you take command of what, how, and when to study as well as competency of the material, which the drug cannot provide.
Athletes suffer from stimuli overload at such a high volume that for some can cause major distractions. Should the ability to block out those distractions be considered on the same scale as someone who is a faster runner or stronger? I don’t think so. I view steroids, PEDs, etc. in the aforementioned scenario as someone providing the test answers for you–cheating and giving you the unfair advantage over others who studied and worked hard to attain a similar grade.
I don’t believe providing focus and concentration to be an unfair advantage. It’s not going to make you a more durable or harder thrower, stronger hitter, or even a faster runner.
In fact, when taking pitching into consideration, it could make you a slightly worse one. Yes, Adderall provides the ability for a pitcher to potentially block out crowd noise or focus in on how to attack a hitter better. But it also could take him out of controlling the running game. Because Adderall generally works to allow an individual the ability to concentration on one thing at a time, it could block out other events that are critical to the general situation. Meaning if there are runners on base, and one is taking a particularly generous lead, then an Adderall-fueled brain may ‘block’ that out as the event of getting the hitter out may take precedent**.
I could care less if Adderall use becomes wide-spread and don’t even bat an eye when I hear of someone being caught. Compared to PED use, the effects and/or benefits of using the stimulant are insignificant.
**A pretty general statement/assessment. For a more concise description on the effect of Adderall in baseball, go here.