Baseball's ADHD epidemic

December, 1, 2009
12/01/09
6:19
PM ET
A bit of shocking news from Major League Baseball:

    The number of baseball players authorized to use otherwise banned stimulants for ADHD rose for the second straight year.

    Baseball granted 108 therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder during the year ending with this World Series, according to a report released Tuesday by MLB's independent drug-testing administrator. That was up from 106 a year earlier and 103 in 2007.

    There were 12 positives for banned stimulants among 3,722 tests under the major league testing program. Since no players were suspended for stimulants, they either were initial positive tests, which don't cause suspensions, or are still in the arbitration process.

Like I said, shocking.

Oh, wait. What's the opposite of shocking? Because that's what I meant.

In 2009, exactly 1,156 players played in at least one major league game. So slightly more than nine percent of all major leaguers were granted the "therapeutic use" exemption.

Is that a lot? Well, it's hard to say, because ADHD might be under- or over-diagnosed, depending on who you talk to. This source will say only that ADHD occurs in "3-10% of the general population," which just happens to give MLB (and the MLBPA) just the wiggle room they need to avoid a Congressional inquiry.

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