What's the benefit of Adderall for NFL players?

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What's the benefit of Adderall for NFL players?

FOXBORO -- Posted outside the entrance to the Patriots training room is a sign that warns NFL players about supplements and medications. The small poster implores players to call an NFLPA hotline if they have any questions on whether a substance is OK to ingest or not. And the phone number is right there.

Monday, after news that Jermaine Cunningham was given a four-game suspension broke, I decided to dial the number on the bottom of the poster to see just how hard it is on NFL players to get the counsel they need.

June' Rogers, the Director of Drug Programs and Policies, answered on the second ring.

We didn't speak about any case in particular. Mostly, we discussed the prescription drug Adderall, an Attention Deficit Disorder medication that player after player cites for being the cause of testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

One of the first things Rogers noted was that no player tests positive for Adderall. What the player specifically took is not definable. In the case of Adderall use, a player would test positive for amphetamines.

What's the benefit of Adderall? Rogers said it enhances focus. And it gives a player a little zip (my word, not hers) after he takes it. It's an upper.

Speaking to another source in the medical field, I was told Adderall has limited benefits for NFL players aside from meeting room focus and staying awake (it's also used to combat narcolepsy).

If NFL players were playing multiple games in a week and crossing time zones like professional baseball players do, taking Adderall would make sense since it battles fatigue. But that isn't generally the case.

It's worth noting that the NFL does not cite the performance enhancing substance found in a player's system when a positive result and suspension come down. As a result, blaming Adderall -- a drug that treats a very common condition in our society -- means a player isn't stigmatized as he would be if he tested positive for testosterone, something which physically imbalances the playing field as opposed to giving a mental "edge." So players who cite Adderall as the reason they get suspended deal with the presumption that they probably are just using Adderall as an excuse instead of coming clean.

Either way, the NFL and NFLPA have taken significant steps to keep players and their agents informed on Adderall. Monday night, Rogers emailed me a Frequently Asked Questions handout on Adderall that the NFLPA has made available.

Have a look:

In what ways are players informed ofthe NFL's banned substances?

The Player Policies handbook, which is distributed annually to all players, includes complete copies of both the Performance Enhancing Substances Policy and the Substances of Abuse Policy. Both policies identify the substances that are prohibited and for which players are tested under the respective policies. Additionally, the prohibited performance enhancing substances list is posted on the NFLPAs website; it is also provided at team meetings and at the Combine. The NFLPAs Player Planner App also includes the prohibited list, allowing players to access the information from their smartphones andor tablet devices.

Has there been an attempt to educate players in alternative ways?

NFLPA Tweet of the week
Once a week players following @NFLPA receive a message regarding some aspect of our drug polices as well as information on products that may pose a risk to players health and safety.

Dont Take - Poster campaign
This poster was designed by the NFLPA to emphasize the consequences of taking ANY substance before discussing with a knowledgeable individual. These posters have been sent to all teams to be posted in locker rooms.

Talking Points Pilot
This grassroots approach is designed to ensure that the people who comprise a player's"circle of influence" are also educated on the drug policies. These documents are sent to agents, the NFLPA player reps for every team, and player engagement professionals to better equip them with knowledge regarding the professional, financial, health and legal risks associated with violating the drug policies.

The NFLPA is committed to educating EVERY player about the NFLNFLPA's drug policies. The union continues to create new opportunities for players to gain access to this information and educate them on the impact these policies can have on their lives and careers.

Is thereshould there be a focus on common prescription drugs like Adderall?
Our focus is on player health and safety. We are committed to ensuring that our players are fully aware of the potential health, professional and personal consequences associated with violating the NFLNFLPAs drug policies. This focus is and will be the same for all education efforts around the NFLs drug policies.

When didAdderall become a banned substance?
Amphetamines have been banned since 1995 under the NFLNFLPAs Policy and Programs on Substances of Abuse. Amphetamines such as Adderall have been prohibited under the NFLNFLPAs Policy on Anabolic Steroid and Related Substance Policy since 2006.

What is the process to obtain a T.U.E.?
Players need to submit a T.U.E. application to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Steroids and Related Substances PRIOR to the initiation of treatment. The Independent Administrator sends the T.U.E. to selected specialists who review the application and determine rather or not a TUE should be granted. This determination is based on the criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV ).

What are the accepted medical reasons for a player to obtain a T.U.E. forAdderall?
Adderall is approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADDADHD and narcolepsy. Treatment for those disorders provide the only bases upon which a player may be granted a T.U.E. for Adderall.

How often does a player need to update the paperworkre-apply for a T.U.E.?
T.U.E.s are reviewed annually. A full re-evaluation must be done every three years.

Has there been an increase in number of T.U.E. applications and grantsfor Adderall in recent years?
The NFLPA does not release information about T.U.E. applications or the statuses of these applications. However, increased diagnoses of ADDADHD in the general public have led to a corresponding increase in prescriptions for medications to treat these disorders.

Do players need to get the Adderall from the team or can it come from an outside doctor if there is a T.U.E.?
Prescriptions for Adderall can be written by any licensed physician; however, to be granted a T.U.E. under the NFLNFLPA policies, a formal evaluation must have been performed in the last 3 years by a psychiatrist and other physicians who specializes in the treatment of ADDADHD or a knowledgeable physician working with a psychologist in the ADDADHD area.

Jun Rogers
Director of Drug Programs and Policies
Player Affairs & Development

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

The Red Sox had their chance.

They could have beefed up during the just-completed homestand and taken advantage of the worst team in the American League (Minnesota) and another that was only three games over .500 when it came to town (Detroit).

Instead, the Red Sox were just 2-5 in the last seven games at Fenway, losing ground in the standings to the Orioles and Blue Jays rather than making the race tighter.

That's not to suggest the Red Sox played their way out of contention in the last week. There are better than two months remaining in the season and the schedule isn't yet two-thirds complete.

Moreover, there is no dominant team in the East, and, thus, no one capable of pulling away and leaving the rest of the teams in their wake.

Baltimore and Toronto are flawed, too, as the first 100 or so games of the season have demonstrated.

But what the disappointing homestand means is this: Because they didn't win as much as they should at Fenway in the last week, the Sox will have to make up for that on the road.

As has been talked about ad nauseum in the last week, the schedule is about to become more demanding for the Red Sox. It's bad enough that they're in the middle of a stretch that will see them enjoy one (1) day off in the span of 44 days. Making matters worse is that 41 of the final 63 games are away from home -- including the next 11.

Put another way: The Red Sox have not yet had a three-city road trip this season, but all four of their remaining trips are of the three-city variety, including two that include travel to the West Coast.

The Red Sox have played fairly well on the road (21-19) -- they're one of just four teams in the American League with a winning road record -- but the simple fact remains: It's harder to win on the road than it is at home. And that's before you take into consideration the toll that lengthy road trips can take.

Of the next three road opponents, one has a losing record, and another is just two games over .500. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, next weekend's interleauge road opponent, are playoff contenders from among that group.

Then again, the Red Sox thought they could roll over the Twins last weekend and came away with a four-game split, so it's difficult to handicap these things.

It should help, too, that the Red Sox are getting healthier.

Junichi Tazawa returned this week, and Craig Kimbrel could be back as early as Monday in Seattle. Chris Young and Josh Rutledge could rejoin them before they head out on their next road swing in mid-August.

With all the talk of the daunting schedule and demanding travel ahead, Dustin Pedroia was having none of it.

"We can play just as well on the road as we have at home,'' said Pedroia. "That stuff (the schedule) is irrelevant.''

Maybe. But one way or another, we're about to find out.

Garoppolo: Make the best of this opportunity as starting quarterback

Garoppolo: Make the best of this opportunity as starting quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo, who will start the first four weeks, talks to the media today about trying to take advantage of the opportunity of being the Patriots' quarterback.

OFFSEASON

Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

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Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

New England fans will get their first glimpse at the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics when they kick off their preseason schedule on October 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.

That game will feature two of the top three picks in last month’s draft as Ben Simmons, the top overall pick, will face Jaylen Brown, who was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.

Boston’s 7-game schedule features no back-to-back games, but they do face the Charlotte Hornets in their second and third preseason games on Oct. 6 (in Greensboro, N.C.) and Oct. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Here’s a look at Boston’s full preseason schedule:

DATE               OPPONENT                  LOCATION                                                        TIME
Oct. 4               Philadelphia 76ers         UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA)     7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 6               Charlotte Hornets          Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8               Charlotte Hornets          Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT)                  3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13             Brooklyn Nets               Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)                          7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 15             New York Knicks           Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 17             Brooklyn Nets               TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 19             New York Knicks           TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET